Monday, March 05, 2007
Before the Presidents' Day recess, Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Israel) quickly and quietly pushed through his Senate Homeland Security Committee the "Improving America's Security by Implementing Unfinished Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007." That bill will be debated by the full Senate this week, beginning today. [OFFICIAL PDF COPY] The 258-page bill is Lieberman's version of the police-state measure which was the first item to pass the U.S. under Speaker Nancy Pelosi......---
The full Senate is set to take up the measure on the floor in the next week or two. To tell your Senators to oppose and filibuster this legislation, the number for he Congressional switchboard is as always 202-225-3121.
Civil liberties experts inside Washington have pointed Total911.info to the following provisions in particular as troubling:
- Section (j)(1)(a-c) of the bill would have President Bush produce a report within six months on whether it is "feasible" to continue to protect the privacy rights of Americans.
The President would recommend whether provisions of the 1975 Privacy Act which bar federal agencies from sharing information on Americans with each other willy-nilly should be "replaced" with so-called "mission-based" or "threat-based" access to information about Americans, defined basically by whether the information is wanted for an "authorized purpose", which the Executive Branch gets to define and decide for itself. If the bill were to pass in current form, we could expect a report before the end of the year recommending the destruction of the Privacy Act, the cornerstone of federal privacy protections.
- Section (j)(1)(d) of the bill calls for a report that would legitimize data-mining of information about Americans by normalizing the use of "anonymized data." This may sound pro-privacy but it really only means "encrypted," which means that private information about Americans is not really "anonymous." Such data can be decrypted by numerous government agents as desired.
- The so-called "Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board" would remain a joke. Title V of S.4 exacerbates the serious problems of the Privacy Board recommended by the 9-11 Commission. This arm of the Executive Office of the White House would now be authorized to review and comment on not just "regulations, executive branch policies, and procedures " -- but legislation proposed in Congress as well!
The confirmation process proposed in Lieberman's bill is a joke as well. If a nominee is denied a vote in committee or delayed in the full Senate, the nominee to continue to serve for up to a year at a time. Lieberman's plan also allows a partisan majority to be a quorum for action and allows the president to set the terms for each of the members, possibly entrenching this Bush board firmly into some or all of the next term.
- Lieberman would also give the "Privacy Board" a subpoena power -- but not over privacy-violating government agencies! A majority of the Board could request that the Attorney General issue a subpoena to persons "other than departments, agencies and elements of the executive branch."
- Lieberman's bill would fund so-called "fusion centers" for gathering intelligence at the state and local not just for alleged "terror" threats but, under Title I Subtitle B, any "criminal or terrorist activity." This is just a mechanism for the Department of Homeland Security to gather information on Americans through sweeping up the files of local and state law enforcement agencies. "Fusion centers" will amount to little more than the vertical intergration of local police departments and the Department of Homeland Securoity to produce a domestic intelligence agency like Britain's MI5.
Labels: 9/11, lieberman, police state
.....| Posted at 23:28 | PERMA-LINK |