Not long before Dick Armey – a conservative Republican constitutionalist – retired as House majority leader, he gave a speech expressing his worry about the government’s increasing blanket surveillance over We the People. He practically begged President George W. Bush to “use these tools we have given you to make us safe in such a manner that’ll preserve our freedom” (my book, “The War on the Bill of Rights and the Gathering Resistance,” Seven Stories Press, 2003).
Bush’s response, alas, was to listen more and more to Vice President Dick Cheney.
And now for the first time in American history, according to the Government Accountability Project’s Jesselyn Radack, Attorney General Eric Holder has officially and publicly declared “new guidelines that permit the federal counterterrorism investigators to collect, search and store data about Americans who are not suspected of terrorism, or anything …
“According to the Justice Department, law enforcement and other national security agencies can copy entire databases and sift through the data for suspicious patterns to stop potential terrorist threats” (“Govt. Keeping Data on Americans With No Connection to Terrorism,” whistleblower.org, March 23).
Where in the Constitution do “suspicious patterns” – otherwise undefined and outside the jurisdiction of our courts – allow the government to put large and growing numbers of us into databases for future tracking?