The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
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[ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ] Dear Moderator and all, You mentioned the many unsubscribers lately. I suggest that if they are from the US, the following article that appeared in the NY times might be a reason. It was written by William Saffire. June 3, 2002 J. EDGAR MUELLER by William Safire Washington Under the police powers it operated under last year, and with the lawful cooperation of a better-managed C.I.A., an efficiently run F.B.I. might well have prevented the catastrophe of Sept. 11. That is the dismaying probability that Congressional oversight(it should be called undersight) will begin to show this week. To fabricate an alibi for his nonfeasance, and to cover up his department's embarrassing cut of the counterterrorism budget last year, Attorney General John Ashcroft- working with his hand-picked aide, F.B.I. Director "J. Edgar Mueller III -has gutted guidelines put in place a generation ago to prevent the ABUSE OF POLICE POWER BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. They have done this deed by executive fiat: no public discussion, no Congressional action, no judicial guidance. If we had only had these new powers last year, goes their posterior-covering pretense, we could have stopped terrorism cold. Not so. They had the power to collect the intelligence, but lacked the intellect to analyze the date the agencies collected. The F. B. I.'s failure to share information to absorb the Phoenix and Minneapolis memos was compounded by the C.I.A.'s failure to share information it had about two of the Arab terrorists in the U.S. who would become hijackers(as revealed by Newsweek today). Thus we see the seizure of new powers of surveillance is a smokescreen to hide failure to use the old power. Ashcroft claims he is merely allowing the feds to attend public events, or to surf the Internet. That's a masterful deceit:under the former anti-abuse guidelines, of course the F.B.I. could send an agent into a ballpark, church or political rally. All it needed was "information or an allegation whose responsible handling required some further scrutiny"-not even probable cause to investigate a crime, but a mere tip about possible wrongdoing. Same with surfting the Net or reading a newspaper or watching television news. Often that's how F.B.I. agents in the field have been alerted to a potential crime and could then open a preliminary inquiry. If a lead showed "reasonable indication of criminal activity," agents could initiate a full investigation without going through Washington headquarters-hiring informants , staking out a house, seeking wiretaps and search warrents. But under the new Ashcroft-Mueller diktat, that necessary hint of potential criminal activity is swept away. With not a scintilla of evidence of a crime being committed, the feds will be able to run full investigations for one year. That's aimed at generating suspicion of criminal conduct - the very definition of a "fishing expedition." Not to worry- say government perps- we won't collect data in dossiers on individuals or social or political clubs or church groups - the sort of abuse that suppressed dissent in "the bad old days." Do they think the public is totally ignorant of the ability of today's technology to combine surveillance reports , names on membership lists on law abiding Americans?.......... The article goes on. William Safire is playing with the reverence to J.Edgar Hoover who abused the FBI powers of law abiding citizens . It could be for something as simple as participating on this list. For those on the list who are american please write your elected officials about the Cabinet Office of Security Bush wants to create. It has the potential to create these abuses that Safire talks about . It has in the past with much less power. Sincerely, Peggy _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk