Chad (cannibal) wrote,

Surveillance and Espionage in a Free Society

We are concerned with the survival of individual freedom in the United States. We are concerned with the freedom of the United States to survive. The problem we address is the maintenance of the two simultaneously and harmoniously, for a critical paradox can exist whereby the effort to maintain the one may jeopardize the other. Today’s threat, which may be tomorrow’s everlasting sorrow, is that there are within our nation, as outside it, those who are acting simultaneously to diminish both our individual freedom and our national security.
It is the purpose of this Report to offer proposals for the conduct of domestic security practices and the intelligence community.  Our goal is explicit: to preserve and enhance the freedom of Americans and America by establishing policies and procedures that protect the citizen from the loss of his privacy, privileges, and constitutional rights through improper security practices at the hands of his own government.

These quotes are from Surveillance and Espionage in a Free Society, a Report by the Planning Group on Intelligence and Security to the Policy Council of the Democratic National Committee, 1972, Richard H. Blum, foreword by Adlai Stevenson. This was an admittedly partisan issue because the FBI under the Nixon administration was actively targeting his opponents.  The Pentagon Papers, proving that LBJ and Nixon had lied about Vietnam, came out the previous year, and then Nixon had his men break into the DNC Watergate offices.

We must be specific, however, in our attention because with burgeoning technology, bureaucracies, and budgets, it is now the case that methods devised for our protection - or claimed to be - threaten this land and us, the American people.

 A group calling themselves The Citizens' Commission to Investigate the FBI (never caught) had just broken into an FBI office and discovered that era's version of the Snowden papers, proof that the FBI worked 40% on political surveillance of the DNC, attacks on Black Panthers, antiwar groups, and the like, 30% bureaucratic and procedural stuff, 14% chasing draft dodgers, 1% organized crime, and 15% real crime that the average citizen would have thought the FBI was working on.

Domestic security includes much of the work of the FBI... it includes the central computer files that hold information on millions of citizens. It affects the classification of governmental documents including those which hold no information of use to a foreign power but can be useful to, but are denied, to U.S. citizens themselves... "no more than one half of one percent of the classified documents in the Department of Defense contain information requiring security protection."
Because the security cloak is cast so wide and embraces that vital stuff on which democracies depend for life - information by which citizens may make judgments about the world they live in and their government's work in that world - it is inevitable that the cost of any security system is a less well-informed press and public. The cost of the expanding apparatus which is now under development is a stifled press and citizens and political leaders unable to make reasoned decisions.
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