What First Amendment?
March 8, 2011
The Department Of Homeland Security has concluded that it is perfectly reasonable for it to spy on dozens of peaceful advocacy groups and monitor scores of lawful protests and political rallies in the name of national security.
The ACLU details the DHS’ response to a complaint the group filed with the DHS’s Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (OCRCL).
The ACLU demanded an investigation into whether DHS officials abused their authority by improperly collecting and disseminating information regarding political demonstrations, following revelations that Homeland Security’s Federal Protective Service (FPS) had been engaging in such activity dating back to 2006.
The OCRCL has refused to disclose the memorandum detailing its investigative findings, however it sent a letter to the ACLU last week reaffirming that it sees no wrongdoing in the actions whatsoever, while admitting that there was no adequate differentiation between civil activist and violent extremist organizations.
“We strongly disagree with the OCRCL’s finding that FPS acted within its authority to compile and disseminate a list tracking the political activities of advocacy groups.” The ACLU states on its website.
“No agency or department in government has the right to monitor the peaceful and lawful political activities and speech of Americans.” the statement continues.
“Protection from this type of government monitoring is exactly the reason why the First and Fourth Amendments were adopted… The government must immediately stop any ongoing programs or activities that monitor lawful political speech and advocacy of American citizens.” it concludes.
Of course, asking the DHS to investigate itself on these matters is the equivalent of asking Charles Manson to chair his own parole hearing. The ACLU could not have expected any different result.
The federal government now openly admits that it spies on Americans and compiles lists of subversives if they choose to engage in their Constitutional rights.
Welcome to the new America.
Related Reading: DoD Training Manual Describes Protest As “Low-Level Terrorism”