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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Be afraid, be very afraid

Big Brother Bush is watching you,

Here's a very chilling story about the Patriot Act, its use and abuse and the very cavalier attitude of FBI attorneys and agents in charge of using the law to spy on each and every one of us.

Some not-so-comforting passages from the story:

"Congress has given us this tool to obtain basic telephone data, basic banking data, basic credit reports," said Caproni, who is among the officials with signature authority. "The fact that a national security letter is a routine tool used, that doesn't bother me."
Valerie Caproni, the author of that quote, is the FBI's general counsel. Apparently she does not know the history of the man whose name is on the building in which she works. Nor does she know the acronym COINTELPRO.

"I don't necessarily want somebody knowing what videos I rent or the fact that I like cartoons," said Mason, the Washington field office chief. But if those records "are never used against a person, if they're never used to put him in jail, or deprive him of a vote, et cetera, then what is the argument?"

Michael Mason is an assistant FBI director. He obviously doesn't have a strong connection with the Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution. And the FBI (short for Freaking Bumblers and Incompetents?) should really give its agents and attorneys a short course on its history for messing up. What do you think, Whitey Bulger?

The story notes the abuse of the national security letter in a check on one of the myriad terrorist alerts raised by this administration in times of their political trouble. The subhead plays on the slogan that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

What happens in Washington and at the FBI very rarely stays there. Try not to breath to hard on the line when you listen in on my calls, Mr. Fed.

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