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27 Aug, 2011

Giving up liberty in the pursuit of security – Opinion – Al Jazeera English

The limits our laws place on our government are there for a reason. As a society, we do not want our government to spy on entire communities nor do we want individuals singled out on the basis of race or religion. Similarly, our CIA spies are trained to break laws and disregard rights. Our laws allow them to do that only abroad, not at home.

That the boundaries have been overstepped sadly comes as no surprise to many Muslim, Arab and South Asian Americans. Those communities have been decrying blanket surveillance and infiltration for years. The outrageous revelations should come as no surprise to attentive observers, either.

Recall the disturbing statements by Larry Sanchez, the senior CIA officer seconded to the NYPD as part of this programme. Testifying before the Senate in 2007, Sanchez explained that the secret to the NYPD’s approach was viewing constitutionally-protected activity, including the practise of religion, as a potential precursor to terrorism. Setting the stage for the NYPD’s massive fishing expedition was a 2002 federal court order paring down restrictions on the police’s ability to infiltrate communities and monitor protected activity without any concrete suspicion of actual criminal conduct.

via Giving up liberty in the pursuit of security – Opinion – Al Jazeera English.