Good morning all, Angry Webmaster here. Once again, we have another story about the Department of Homeland Security acting against the Enemies of Obama. In this case they are monitoring the web for signs of anti-government sentiment and social unrest.
Gee, this is almost a standing headline, isn’t it? People used to say that the DHS,1 under Bush was going to spy on people, suppress rights and generally mutate into a secret police agency. They were right, but they picked the wrong president who would do all this.
All the abuses of authority that have occurred, started on January 21st, 2009, the day after Barack “I’m a constitutional Scholar” Hussein Obama got to work.
So what is the latest outrage to come down from DC? As I wrote above, Homeland Security is monitoring the web for anti-government sentiment and signs of social unrest. However this time it looks like The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has managed to get Congress to look into Janet Incompetino’s abuse of authority.
A privacy advocacy group has swayed Congress to hold a hearing next week into the Department of Homeland Security’s practice of monitoring social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as media reports and organizations, including The Drudge Report.
I recall when this was discovered and wrote a post about it a month ago. Recently EPIC filed an FOIA lawsuit and got a document dump. They received a number of documents detailing the federal agency’s “intelligence gathering” practices on the web. So what did they find?
Among the documents were guidelines from DHS instructing outside contractors to monitor the web for media reports and comments that “reflect adversely” on the agency or the federal government.
Hmm, I wonder if they were monitoring our little web site? Needless to say, we definitely fit their parameters as being anti-government.
As Reuters reported last month, in early 2010 contractors were asked to spend 24 hours monitoring news media coverage on popular websites, including Facebook, Twitter, Hulu, WikiLeaks, as well as news sites including the Huffington Post and The Drudge Report.
Hmm, apparently not. Gee, I feel so ignored. So, what were they looking for?
The contractors were required to provide the DHS with feedback on any potential “threats and hazards”, as well as “any media reports that reflect adversely on the U.S. Government and the Department of Homeland Security (D.H.S.) ability to prevent, protect and respond, to recovery efforts or activities related to any crisis or events which impact National Planning Scenarios.”
In other words, anything that might interfere with the Government in any way shape or form basically. I wonder how much this cost me, the taxpayer?
The documents obtained by EPIC indicate that following the exercise, a procurement official awarded an $11.3 million contract to General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems in order to carry out the monitoring on a “24/7/365 basis”.
EPIC director Ginger McCall notes that monitoring what people are saying about government policies goes too far and has a chilling effect on free speech.
“The Department of Homeland Security’s monitoring of political dissent has no legal basis and is contrary to core First Amendment principles,” she said.
“The language in the documents makes it quite clear that they are looking for media reports that are critical of the agency and the U.S. government more broadly,” said McCall. “This is entirely outside of the bounds of the agency’s statutory duties.”
Gee, ya think? The DHS should not exist in any case. They were created in a panic after the 9/11 attack. So, now that there is going to be a hearing on this, you think that congress will slap down the overreach of these agencies? Think again.
However, it is already apparent where the House subcommittee for intelligence and counter-terrorism stands on the matter. As reported by Reuters, the top two members of the subcommittee, Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA) and Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), wrote to DHS Intelligence Chief Caryn Wagner last month, pressing her to more carefully monitor users’ posts on sites such as Facebook and Twitter, in order to help detect “current or emerging threats.”
In other words, no.
And here in lies the problem. Our nations founders believed that the government should fear and respect it’s citizens. Nowadays, it’s the other way around. The Government wants the people to fear them and will go to any lengths to crush any signs of dissent.
Yes, it’s time to get rid of all these thugs from both parties.
Remember in November, as well as during the primary season. If your representative or senator is up and is NOT supporting your rights and the Constitution, but is only concerned with staying in office, vote them the hell out!
~The Angry Webmaster~