March 10, 2006

What domestic spying means

A piece in Wednesday's Los Angeles Times describes the last time extensive domestic spying was uncovered, by the theft of FBI records on March 8, 1971, by activists who then anonymously mailed them to journalists and politicians. The case was never solved, and political spying by the FBI was sharply curtailed.

Now we know that the Bush administration appears to have continued the Pentagon-planned Total Information Awareness data-mining spy program -- which was canned in the face of justifiable outrage -- under the much more secret National Security Administration. Just as J. Edgar Hoover marked his fellow citizens as enemies of the state for acting against bigotry and inequality, and by doing so justifying any criminal action against them, so the big W has revived that "privilege" for himself and his corporate cronies.

This time, however, the only outrage is its being technically illegal. So Congress rushes to make it "legal" and journalists breathe a sigh of relief.

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