The Defense Department is instructing its employees and contractors not to seek out or download classified material from the public domain that was leaked last week to the Guardian and Washington Post — material detailing a massive, covert and government-run surveillance program.
According to a Friday memorandum from Timothy A. Davis, DOD security director:
Classified information, whether or not already posted on public websites, disclosed to the media, or otherwise in the public domain remains classified and must be treated as such until it is declassified by an appropriate U.S. government authority. It is the responsibility of every DoD employee and contractor to protect classified information and to follow established procedures for accessing classified information only through authorized means. Leadership must establish a vigilant command climate that underscores the critical importance of safeguarding classified material against compromise.Accordingly, we request all DoD components send prompt notification to your employees and contractors reminding them of these obligations. Procedures for responding to classified information found in the public domain are attached. These procedures will be promulgated in future DoD issuances.
A similar edict came down in 2010, when the President Barack Obama administration cautioned federal employees from reading or downloading classified U.S. diplomatic cables WikiLeaks had disclosed.
Off-duty cops in two counties in Alabama spent the weekend collecting saliva and blood samples from drivers at roadblocks.
“They are trying to get 75,000 participants with anonymous donations of blood — and they don’t know whose blood or whose swab it is — and they are trying to say, ‘OK, after this hour at night, out of these 75,000 people 10 percent of them had alcohol in their blood or 12 percent of them had some kind of narcotic in their blood.
All of them together are making it apparent to the American people that our government is no longer merely corrupt, unethical, and of questionable constitutionality, but has crossed the line into blatant lawlessness, a frank disregard for the rule of law and open contempt for our organic and foundational law.
That’s why we have the 4th amendment. It is specifically there to prevent the government from imposing itself into your private arena, your res privata, and exposing them or using them against you at some later date, without having a very good reason for doing so. The mere suspicion that “somebody, somewhere” might be up to something, so we have to keep fishing until we find it is not enough. It’s what this amendment is designed to protect against. In short, it’s meant to keep the government from treating you and me like criminal suspects when it has no actual evidence that would justify this.
And it’s shameful the way we have let the government get away with reducing what qualifies as “privacy” until it encompasses nothing more than the four walls of your home and the inside of your car. Even if you have a conversation in a public place with another person that both of you intend to be private (whispering, sitting at a private table, etc.), it doesn’t count as private. If you buy something at a store, your transaction is not considered private. If you drive anywhere, you can have a GPS stuck to your car without knowing it, because that’s not “private.” Privacy cannot simply be negated by “being in a public place.” This is ludicrous. Privacy is a function of the inherent right of a person not to have their affairs aired to everyone else, and especially to the government—not of what physical location they happen to be at the moment. Just because someone is at a public place like a restaurant or a city park should not mean that they are considered to be in “the public sphere” and therefore waive their 4th amendment rights simply by being there.
It’s a shame that more Americans are not bothered by the rampant intrusions against our 4th amendment liberties—and these go far beyond the NSA spying we’ve only just learned about. Have we reached a point where the Constitution is optional, not just in the eyes of the government (which has held that view for decades), but also the average American? I sincerely hope not.
An Iran emboldened by the unchecked exertion of its influence in Syria would also be emboldened in other arenas, Alani said, including the negotiations over its nuclear program, as well as its ambitions in Iraq, Lebanon and beyond.
“If Iran wins this conflict and the Syrian regime survives, Iran’s interventionist policy will become wider and its credibility will be enhanced,” he added.