Regulations recently signed into effect by Attorney General Eric Holder allow the National Counterterroism Center (NCTC) to monitor records of citizens for any potential criminal activity, without a warrant and without suspicion.
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the records that will be subject to seizure and examination by the NCTC include “flight records, casino-employee lists, the names of Americans hosting foreign exchange students and many others.”
Prior to the promulgation of these new regulations, such records were stored on only those citizens suspected of terror-related activity or as part of ongoing criminal investigations.
Furthermore, this information could only be stored for five years; that information will be stored indefinitely, so that the data can be analyzed by federal agents for signs of potential criminal behavior.
These sweeping new powers resulted from a debate among Obama administration intelligence officials, the story reports.
“The debate was a confrontation between some who viewed it as a matter of efficiency—how long to keep data, for instance, or where it should be stored—and others who saw it as granting authority for unprecedented government surveillance of U.S. citizens,” the Wall Street Journal reports, claiming that the newspaper received this insight into the process through Freedom of Information requests and interviews with representatives at several agencies familiar with the events.
In a historic and unconstitutional way, the new directives grant NCTC the power to place every American under the constant surveillance of the federal government, not because these people have ever merited the attention, but because someday they might.
Granting an agency of the federal government the power to place innocent citizens under surveillance is not only an unconscionable diminution of due process rights, but a wholesale regulatory nullification of the Bill of Rights.
Another equally intrusive aspect of the new regulations allows agents of the U.S. government to exchange the information gathered on citizens to be shared with their counterparts in other countries so that they can conduct their own analyses.
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