With good reason, civil libertarians called foul upon learning that the president has authorized the arrest and indefinite detention of persons, including U.S. citizens, suspected of terrorism-related activity. This is in addition to the administration’s recent decision to loosen the restrictions on the massive data-mining operation that is being undertaken by the large complex of government agencies engaged in counter-terrorism activities. They have access to huge databases, such as our credit card records, and can retain these files for five years. Then, there is the matter of the New York Police Department’s unchecked surveillance of Muslim individuals, mosques, schools, clubs, and other gathering places throughout the Northeast, including on such university campuses as Yale and Rutgers. Much of this NYPD activity has had the active support of the CIA.
Unfortunately, we are, once again, allowing concerns over national security to jeopardize our supposedly inalienable rights. To those who think that only terrorists and criminals need fear their government, the historical evidence to the contrary is overwhelming. When we set aside the Bill of Rights for any reason or for any group, we put all of us at risk and only have ourselves to blame if we fail to take corrective action.