Articles like the USA Today story in the title link confirm my reasons for not wanting government agencies to have too much power. Here are some quotes:
FBI agents have violated government policies by secretly conducting surveillance on
citizens for more than a year without notifying Justice Department officials. U.S....
FBI spokesman John Miller said Monday that the precise number of violations by agents could not be disclosed because some information on the bureau's surveillance activities in this country remains classified....
... the FBI has dramatically increased its surveillance on people in this country, including
U.S. citizens are overseen by a secret court and a presidential panel whose activities are not made public. After obtaining such a warrant, FBI agents are supposed to follow Justice procedures designed to prevent abuses of such authority. U.S.
I realize that the article only mentions several cases of this happening, and that this represents a miniscule portion of the FBI's workload. Nevertheless, if they won’t disclose the precise number of procedural violations to protect “classified” information, I’m not willing to take it on faith that there were few such violations. While most FBI agents probably follow protocols and obey the law, it only takes a few highly placed people to let abuse of power to get out of hand. Remember J. Edgar Hoover’s secret files? citizens. Warrants that allow such surveillance of
With each passing year, technology makes it easier to gather, store and disseminate information about people. While preventing crime is important, systems should remain in place to protect civil liberties and privacy. It is imperative that we the people demand and protect our rights from the government if we are to remain a free nation. Throughout history, emergencies and crises have been used as justification to increase government powers and reduce individual rights. This is a trend that should be stopped.