Common Sense: Somebody’s Watchin’ Me… and You
By Bob Eschliman
Rarely, it seems, agencies of the federal government can work together in a coordinated effort, unless of course, they are planning to trample on the rights of ordinary citizens. And, especially when it can be done in the name of “security.”
Hot on the heels of Congress re-authorizing the Unpatriotic Act, government agencies at all levels, as well as the Department of Defense, are hard at work to ensure your rights under the Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Ninth Amendments are completely shredded. It’s even resulted in former New Jersey Superior Court Judge Andrew Napolitano calling out Congress to act.
Potted plants — classic. [Paulbots, this is your chance to be proud. I know you’ve got Ron Paul set in your Google Alerts, so let’s hear a few shout-outs]
First, we have the nearly three dozen local law enforcement agencies around the U.S. who have surveillance drones ready to go up in the air — unmanned “bears in the air,” if you will. To do so, however, each agency must receive a Certificate of Authorization from the FAA.
And, as you can see here, the FAA is hard at work to “streamline the process” so law enforcement can get more “spies in the sky.” In fact, it’s estimated there will be as many as 30,000 unmanned aircraft in the skies over the United States alone by 2020.
The situation has made for some very interesting and odd bedfellowships. Patriotic groups, such as those who follow Alex Jones’ radio program, or his website, InfoWars.com (RP fans, this is your chance for another shout-out), have found they are now allied with the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Privacy Information Center — at least on this issue.
But the really scary part is that we’ve had a “crossing the Rubicon” moment with the U.S. military. In an Air Force document recently discovered, it appears the DoD is planning to put up its own unmanned surveillance aircraft for the purpose of spying on U.S. citizens.
That’s right… the “intelligence” wing of the U.S. military wants to spy on you and your family.
Never mind the Fourth Amendment, and certainly never mind the Posse Comitatus Act, the latter of which specifically prevents the DoD from engaging in domestic activities. Apparently, your upcoming Memorial Day family gathering is a matter of national security and/or defense.
Because, of course, this is all being done in the name of security.
That brings me to my final point. A caged bird is really quite safe inside his or her cage. But, can we really say that bird is free?
If you’re reading this, thank a teacher. If you’re reading this in English, thank a soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine.
Bob Eschliman is an Iowa journalist who has been covering government and politics for nearly 14 years. He is founder of The Ben Franklin Journalism Blog, which encourages greater citizen engagement with the media.