Sandy wrote:Fusion Centers. The legacy of America's worst President ever, George W. Bush.
Having to keep track of terrorists is a dilemma in a constitutional Republic. But then, so is civil disobedience. There are a lot of extremist right wingers running around threatening government overthrow, calling for marches on Washington and holding small towns in Nevada hostage because they don't want to pay bills that they agreed to by contract, money owed to those of us who pay taxes. How do you keep order, keep people safe, and guarantee free speech and expression, and prevent another 9-11?
It is a difficult issue.
Personally I favor keeping the Fusion Centers (collect it all) for value in criminal manners as well as terrorism (I would include school shootings or any planned violence in the definition of “terrorsim”
). This could take away email/phone messaging as a means of coordinating crime (be it violent terrorism or other illegal activity).
But there has to be strong checks and balances applied to keep unwarranted snooping and disclosure to legitimate matters (e.g. not to get dirt on a politician or opponent ala Watergate or suppress peaceable protests as the 1st Amendment protects).
Specifically I would propose an expanded court system (demanded to be quick reaction and available 24/7) with two but separate functions:
Search Permission: Duly authorized police or investigation agency (e.g FBI, IGs, GAO) or media makes application to perform data mining on a person or group with reasons given for the suspicion of criminal/terroristic activity (much like a warrant functions for physical search of property, we need ability to see evidence in electronic storage). Staging what is planned as peaceable protest assemblies is not criminal or terrorism as it seems to be assumed according to the lead off link in this post. Now if someone plans some violence in that protestation, cops should be at least on the watch for such and if warranted pre-emptively detain the perpetrator. Too often the police themselves start the violence thinking it their duty. But I recognize the difficulty in those situations. Both sides must error on the side of keeping things peaceful.
Disclosure Permission: If incriminating evidence is found, the nature of that evidence should also be reviewed by a separate court (also available 24/7) and they have the responsibility to authorized disclosure and to state who may use such disclosures (requesting organization all the way up to the public via the media).
Side benefit: More high paid employment on a socially valuable endeavor (I envision thousands of new judges) would help stimulate the economy. Piketty calls such use of money “regalitory” (police, fire fighters, court systems included) and that traditionally has been about 10% of "national income” since 1800. This might make it 11% of national income. If it stems criminality it will be worth it.
Can a court system ever be "quick reacting" is a legitimate concern? We wont know unless we try. Technology can help.
Couldn’t criminals just meet privately to coordinate criminal activity? Sure but we take away one a big means in that coordination.
This would not curtail crime dreamt up in a single person’s mind. Sure but many criminal activities are joint endeavors especially corporate crime and records of a single person’s activity can be used in prosecution.
Any other thoughts?
Informed by Data.
Driven by the SPIRIT and JESUS’s Example.
Promoting the Kingdom of GOD on Earth.