They’re just LINES … aren’t they?

me da medio (it gives me fear)

According to the boringly titled Military Expands Intelligence Role in U.S. in the New York Times, the CIA and US Military are apparently using something called “noncompulsory national security letters” to request the financial records of Americans suspected of terrorism & espionage. Congress rejected attempts by both agencies to issue mandatory letters 5 years ago but banks and other institutions are complying with the requests.

Some national security experts and civil liberties advocates are troubled by the C.I.A. and military taking on domestic intelligence activities, particularly in light of recent disclosures that the Counterintelligence Field Activity office had maintained files on Iraq war protesters in the United States in violation of the military’s own guidelines. Some experts say the Pentagon has adopted an overly expansive view of its domestic role under the guise of “force protection,” or efforts to guard military installations.

“There’s a strong tradition of not using our military for domestic law enforcement,” said Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker, a former general counsel at both the National Security Agency and the C.I.A. who is the dean at the McGeorge School of Law at the University of the Pacific. “They’re moving into territory where historically they have not been authorized or presumed to be operating.”

Similarly, John Radsan, an assistant general counsel at the C.I.A. from 2002 to 2004 and now a law professor at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, said, “The C.I.A. is not supposed to have any law enforcement powers, or internal security functions, so if they’ve been issuing their own national security letters, they better be able to explain how they don’t cross the line.”

If we are allowing the CIA and military to violate their charters now, how would those powers multiply following a terrorist incident? I am certainly not advocating the government turn a blind eye toward domestic terrorism or espionage. What I most certainly do advocate is using this thing called the FBI to investigate these cases. There are very good reasons that the CIA and military are supposed to be barred from such activities, not the least of which is guarding against waking up to the orders of Generalissimo Presidente…

About the photo: Me Da Miedo translates as “It Gives Me Fear”. The photo was taken by Venuz in Bogata, Columbia. 2 years of college Spanish aside, I can’t read the comments on the photo…

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