A transcript of FBI Director Robert Mueller’s exchange at a House of Representatives hearing with Rep. Darrell Issa hit c|Net News recently. Issa is a California Republican that made his fortune by founding Directed Electronics, a publicly traded company that sells car alarms and home theater loudspeakers.
Issa also is a member of the House Intelligence Committee, which is holding a closed hearing on Thursday devoted to the Bush administration’s so-called Cyber Initiative. In January, President Bush signed a pair of secret orders–National Security Presidential Directive 54/Homeland Security Presidential Directive 23–that apparently deal with detecting and preventing Internet disruptions.
In short, the FBI wants the ability to intercept and monitor traffic going INTO Internet backbone choke-points. They’re already tapping these now, but they want the ability to “legally” intercept these communications.
I do not know in my right mind how, it became permissable for George Bush to undermine civil liberties in the same way that we always argued it was wrong for Democrats to do.
Liberty and Freedom do not care about political affiliations and political parties. If a federal practice is wrong, it is wrong regardless of which party does it. If we do not want Hillary Clinton or Barrack Obama or Bill Clinton reading our e-mail, then we should not tolerate George Bush or John McCain doing it either. Doing so only undermines the very essence of the rule of law and the fabric of our democracy. It is the totalitarian regime that justifies itself through personality, not the free one.
We conservatives have many differences with our fellow liberal americans and we always will. However, the very thing that makes us American, the idea, as Jefferson said, “We are endowed with certain inalienable rights … To secure these liberties, governments are instituted among men”, is under assault and in the name of a rival that frankly is not nearly the equal of the rivals that we have faced in the past. We overcame the British Empire to secure our independence. We fought the Barbary Pirates, our own Civil War, Imperial Germany, and Nazi Germany, and then put our cities on the nuclear firing line against the dark stain of Communism… and we NEVER once entertained turning America into a land of checkpoints and identity requests.
What is going on now in our country is madness. America is not supposed to be a place where guys with machine guns are walking around train platforms, asking if you have a driver’s license with federal approved features. America is not supposed to be the place where the government collects data on all of its citizens.
Yeah, the muzzies blew up the world trade center, and its sad that those people died. But, the British burned our nation’s capital to the ground, the Germans sunk the Lusitania, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and captured an army of 80,000 men of ours. We’ve been attacked before and we’ll be attacked again, and what makes America special is that we keep our freedoms, rather than surrender them.
There’s a million dead soldiers rolling over in their graves because we have so easily surrendered every freedom they fought for. It’s an insult to them, to our national heritage, to turn our country into some sort of crappy police state because a few muslims with box cutters give us the willies.
Support those candidates, regardless of party, that promise to end the Dept of Homeland Security, promise to repeal the USA PATRIOT ACT, and join me in a call for a Constitutional Amendment that bars the Federal Government from intercepting any electronic communications within its borders, unless it can prove before a court that those communications are with another nation with which the USA might be in a state of war.
And another reply from an AC in the same thread:
The current generation has no idea what their ancestors fought and died for. To them, the Constitution is that “dumb thing they had to learn for some test back in school.”
The words of the Constitution, the rights it promises, the beauty and eloquence of the promises themselves — all lost on a generation that mocks those who correctly punctuate their MySpace page.
So who does that leave to defend these freedoms? Us. Every geek who’s ever learned something from the Internet, every one of us who’s ever spent a night on IRC going over a disassembly with some fellow hackers from around the world — every single one of us is threatened by this sort of crap. And every one of us should work to fight it. Whether it’s refusing to turn over traffic logs, enabling mandatory SSL for the sites you administer, or just teaching your family members how to use GPG, there’s something that you (yes you — the one reading this right now) can do to make this sort of illegal, immoral, borderline fascist spying ten times harder.
Realistically though, this sort of monitoring is coming. They may not get it this time around, but you’ll be damned sure they will eventually. The ‘net’s too big a “free speech zone” for them to ignore now. We won’t be able to stop them from getting access to our data, so we’ve got to be ready. Assume that everything you send and receive is monitored. Act accordingly. If the FBI wants to spy on all citizens, then their next war will be virtual. The average citizen doesn’t know what AES is. He doesn’t know how to check a SHA-256 hash. He doesn’t know why SSL is useful. He can’t send an e-mail protected by GPG. But we can. And in the coming war… well.. I guess that makes us the terrorists. So ready your arms, fellow terrorists, and let the jihad begin.
I think they speak for many of us.