Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Do we really need this?


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The United Kingdom has MI-5, which roots out spies and terrorists in the British Isles.
The RAND Corporation said one option would be for domestic intelligence to operate under the FBI.

The RAND Corporation said one option would be for domestic intelligence to operate under the FBI.

Canada has CSIS -- the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

Now Congress is asking: Should the U.S. have its own domestic intelligence agency?

On Monday, at the request of Congress, the RAND Corporation outlined the pros and cons of establishing a domestic intelligence agency. It also discussed different ways to organize a new entity, either as part of an existing department or as a new agency.

But there's one thing you won't find in the report -- a recommendation on what to do.

"We were not asked to make a recommendation, and this assessment does not do so," the report says.

Instead, says RAND's Gregory Treverton, the report provides a "framework" for policymakers to use when deciding whether and how to reorganize counter-intelligence efforts at home.

RAND is a nonprofit think tank seeking to help improve policy and decision making through objective research and analysis.

Collecting intelligence domestically always has been a sensitive issue, at least partially because of episodic abuses by the government, notably against civil rights leaders, unions, antiwar organizations or even communists and hate groups.

But the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks renewed calls for increased domestic intelligence to prevent future attacks. Critics said that in the lead-up to the attacks, the FBI devalued counterterrorism agents and failed to heed signs that an attack was imminent.

"If you didn't carry a gun, you didn't count so much," Treverton said.

After the attacks, the FBI moved to transform its primary mission from law enforcement to counterterrorism intelligence and prevention. It now focuses on terrorism through its National Security Branch and the National Counterterrorism Center.

The RAND report focuses on two options to the current system.

In one, a new agency would be created using intelligence agencies from the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and intelligence community. A second option is to create an "agency within an agency" in the FBI or DHS.

The first option would result in an organization with a clear, unambiguous mission, and might be able to draw on a more diverse recruitment pool, such as linguists and historians who are not normally attracted to law enforcement. On the flip side, such massive reorganizations typically involve political compromises that could affect its performance.

The second option -- an "agency within an agency" -- could involve less short-term disruption, but could be hindered by a "lack of clarity of a single mission," the report says.

RAND also suggests a range of actions short of reorganization that could improve domestic intelligence gathering, such as increasing resources, improving leadership and changing bureaucratic cultures.

The report does not assess the FBI's performance since 9/11, Treverton said, but he believes Congress should seek an independent assessment.

A panel of experts that RAND convened guessed that the probability of a terrorist attack had decreased about one-third since the September 11, 2001. But "they were not enthusiastic about alternatives" to current counterterrorism organizations.

In a cautionary note, the report says that while public acceptance of domestic intelligence activities is imperative, public attitudes about what is considered acceptable "can both be fragile and shift significantly over time."

"Public demand for domestic intelligence is driven by the perceived threat, and those perceptions can change much more rapidly than the threat itself," the report says. For instance, immediately after the 9/11 attacks, 49 percent of people surveyed were worried "a great deal" about more attacks. Two years later, that had dropped to 25 percent

I think that the Congress, and the President, have forgotten a large part of the past... when you have disaffectation of a section of the populace, is it really just, or meet, that we should, in order to win back their love, spy upon them more, and attempt to bring that love through force of arms? Such is foolishness, limned in ignorance, and would seem dedicated to the promulgation of naught but further disaffectation by the people.

Wisdom would be to bring the power of the people back to their own hands, to return the reigns of the republic to the foundational principles. It is foolishness, and the hunger for power that would argue otherwise, but let us explore it!

If one creates a situation where a person, a citizen of the state, feels powerless, is it not true that they will then seek that power? Is it not true that a great many wrongs, and immoral actions are wrought in the seeking of power?

How, then, can it be that making a man less powerful over his own life, less enfranchised in the dedication of his own ends and means, less capable of speaking, of writing, of being free, would be a good thing?

Is it even reasonable to assume that further restrictions will manage to correct the anger and anguish that past restrictions have wrought? If our nation falls, it will not be due to too few regulations, but too many, binding and breaking the people to the lash.

After all, to paraphrase a wise man, are fleets and armies necessary to the work of peace and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled that force must be called in to win back our love? No, sirs, these are instruments of war and subjugation, the last arguments to which Kings resort! I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us into submission? Can gentlemen assign any other possible motives for it? Has the United States any enemy in this quarter of the world to call for the accumulation of armies and navies?

No, sirs, they are meant for us, they can be meant for no other. For what reason would a representative government fear its people, perchance? Is it because they have faithfully listened to the works and words of their constituency? Should they fear us, were they representing us to the fullest extent that they may? No, ladies and gentlemen, there is no fear from these things, only from their opposite. Were the senators, congressmen, and president abiding by their purpose in the creation of the office, there would be naught but love between our peoples, and those august houses that they have long since been occupying.

Can any person assign another motive to the accumulation? Could any purpose of protection be legitimately assigned to spying upon innocent people, and encouraging their dissent with their neighborhoods, their neighbors, their family, their state? No, the purpose is to create disunity, not to unite. Their passions have flown and grown from protecting freedom to protecting power.

Ask yourselves, friends, or enemies, all the same, if their stated purpose can be to protect, when the very things that they were instituted to protect are falling before their protection? Ask moreover, if we still have the power, as the people, to insist upon that representation we were guaranteed, when so much of law and writ is passed, not by vote, but by institution by a few states with great power? Peer into your auguries, look into your futures, and look where this road leads.

We are not to question them, we are not to ask about them, we are not to look too highly into their affairs, for those of us lesser mortals are not of their ken, and must not speak, lest they be offended! Should we, as Americans, as citizens of our states, as people born to a free nation, submit to expansion of laws, designed to do naught but remove further our sovereignty, rights, and freedoms recognized by the constitution as pre-existing, and not to be tampered with?

Should we turn our eyes, and blind ourselves to that imposition of the government, how could we be anything but slaves? Did not the very founding fathers consider the loss of the vote to be worse than death, and the loss of the writ of habeas corpus to be the most defining measure of tyranny? Was it not true, that for these purposes, men laid down their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, and died, in many cases, via torture, or penniless, to uphold that honor? How many wars were fought for the maintenance of those rights? How many times has our nation claimed to uphold them in actions elsewhere, shining that light into the world?

And now to have abandoned them is an usurpation of the worst sort. Each moment we stand here, we forget who we are, more and more the blood of our ancestors cry out in anguish as we abandon their legacy of freedom, for our own petty retribution and aggregation of power.

Lest we forget, we are a nation of patriots. Patriotism is not simply accepting and going along, it is fighting things which are wrong, no matter how 'legal'. It is a truism that all laws are 'legal'... but not all laws are correct, nor just, nor moral.

Patriots stood, fighting against that shadow, against that wrong, from the beginning of our nation. Men with the most to lose from the fight, and loosing gladly the chains of others, at their own expense. Are we, as human beings, so much superior to they? Are we so much inferior? No, we are the same stock, the same blood, and such could never be borne by a free man.

We know our directions, but we must learn our freedoms. Look deep into the works of the past, the works of your ancestors. Remember your fathers, your grandfathers, brothers fighting against brothers, people fighting against the imposition of a foreign government abusive to the ends of freedom and society... and remember who you are, and recognize your own rights and exercise them.

Ask yourselves how much of the Declaration of Independence applies today. Look into the Federalist 26, about the military powers granted to Congress and the President. Look into the federalist 57, the federalist 84. Seek deep into the Federalist 44, about the abuses and usurpations of the rights and ancient law.

Then ask yourself if you can, in conscience, remain idle, remain silent, when any other has their rights stripped, their dignity removed... and ask yourselves how further impositions upon your rights might succeed when all the old have simply made the problems worse for us.

It is time, and high time, we took to the polls, and removed all of those incumbents in office... changing the guard for our nation when our old guard has grown lax. Military and civilian alike, people of all colors, all races, all belong to the human race, and all people can see the hurt, feel the pain, that our economic policies and impositions upon the rights of the people have caused.

It is high time for a change... but when neither of the candidates offer true change, but only more impositions, is it not time to choose a candidate that would lessen the restrictions, remove the impositions of government, and to, with a steady hand, do what is needed to return the government to the purpose of its foundation, that of the service of the people to which it belongs?

Think, and think deeply upon these things... for each and every one of you are responsible for what next comes. The vote is coming... and it is up to you to ensure your votes are counted.

In our world of vote fraud, electronic voting, and no-paper-trail voting, how can we guarantee, however, that our votes will even be counted properly?

That, ladies and gentlemen, is up to the county... and the state... so changes there as well are quite important.

And if those changes fail, if those powers and usurpations continue, the nation itself has already fallen, and it is our purpose, our job, our oath, and our duty to return it to the powers with which it was instituted, and for the purposes of restoring the constitution, and the federal government, to being in line with being the servant of the people of the United States.

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