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The Security State is a Good Thing

Original post made by Jim on Jun 3, 2007

The recent neutralzing of the of the Islamist planned attack on JFK airport in NYC is only one of several foiled attacks on the U.S. in recent years (pre- and post- 9/11).

I think the Patriot Act, along with NSA surveillance is a serious part of this solution. However, I have no proof of it, because, if I did, methods and security would be given away to our enemies. I will just call it a strong suspicion.

I have heard a number of people on this site criticize the Patriot Act, NSA intercepts, Guantanimo, etc. I think this is very naive.

The Federal government, along with NYPD deserves a lot of credit, along with those congressmen who voted for the Patriot Act.

Comments (43)

Posted by It's Your Birthday, a resident of Community Center
on Jun 3, 2007 at 3:19 pm


Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

-Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759


Posted by Dave, a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 3, 2007 at 3:30 pm

And do you have proof that the alleged planned attack on JFK was real? Has the thought that in order to justify the continued assaults on our liberties and the existence of Patriot Act, this so called threat was manufactured just like all the evidence for Saddam's WMD? Who in his right mind would believe anything coming out of this administration?


Posted by SkepticAl, a resident of Ventura
on Jun 3, 2007 at 3:53 pm

Sorry Jim -

I have to go with the skeptics here. Even if it's everything you say or hope for, the problem is that a persistent pattern of deception and scare tactics leaves the public understandably doubtful of the administration. And though I haven't read much on this plot yet, I saw a headline that said an informant was the key. I'll stay tuned.

The plot uncovered before this one (aimed at Fort Dix, I think) came apart b/c they were dumb enough to go to someone to get their video copied. From there, I don't see why we'd need Patriot Act powers rather than the pre-existing powers.

The FBI has already admitted that there was rampant abuse power, or at a minimum, extreme sloppiness, on their end in recent years. And now that we see how this admin. has created a politicized DOJ to an unprecedented degree, how can we trust our executive branch with rigorous oversight by the other two branches of govt.?


Posted by Jim, a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 3, 2007 at 4:50 pm

Al,

The international composition of the Al Qaeda types strongly suggests to me that the CIA and NSA were/are involved in the various cases that we are aware of (and probably many of those were are not aware of). What, logically, makes you think otherwise?


Posted by Sarlat, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 3, 2007 at 5:43 pm

This admin. has used lies, fraud and deception about anything involving national security matters in an unprecedented manner. It can't be trusted or believed about anything. Each time it announces the foiling of a "plot" to bomb US targets, I get a sense of utter distrust and disbelief. Apparently, more and more Americans feel that way and les and less Americans believe anything this admin. says. How can we know it wasn't a set up aimed at justifying the steady erosion of our civil liberties and giving some credibility to bush's decelerations that the 'war on terror' is a fight for our survival?


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2007 at 7:53 pm

Perhaps Jim can provide some evidence that the Patriot Act and NSA wiretapping had anything to do with this case. The current report is that a turned drug dealer inflitrated the group and acted as an informant.


Posted by SkepticAl, a resident of Ventura
on Jun 3, 2007 at 10:43 pm

Jim -

You may be entirely right about who was involved. I'm just saying I'm not yet convinced that Patriot Act powers - rather than pre-Patriot Act - are essential. Given the admitted abuse of that power, why shouldn't I be worried?

Given that our exec. branch once got caught downgrading acts of terrorism to make it look like our war was suppressing global terrorism, why should I trust their word?

Given that our exec. branch then tried to count marriage fraud involving aliens as acts of terrorism to exaggerate the threat at home, why should I trust their word?

Given that our Attorney General has such a poor memory about how his department turned into a Republican Party subsidiary, why should I trust their word?

Shall I go on, or is my argument "in its last throes"? Perhaps it's safe for me to say "Mission Accomplished."


Posted by Guardian, a resident of Professorville
on Jun 4, 2007 at 7:10 am

The global war on terror is a little more than a bumper sticker - political slogan. It was intended for George Bush to use it to justify everything he does: the ongoing war in Iraq, Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib, spying on Americans, torture. Believing a drug dealer-turned-informant is something that those longing to be deceived by their government do.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 4, 2007 at 7:40 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by PA Resident, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 4, 2007 at 7:42 am

To the vast majority of folks that responded to this post, nice work! It's refreshing to see
that there really are people out there who are not going to give up their freeedom so readily in order to provide greater "security." Right on Mr. Franklin! Don't let the war profiteers fool you and mislead the people! May their lies be exposed. Greater security for less freedom is not acceptable, and runs counter to American ideals and beliefs. Don't believe the hype!


Posted by Big Mama, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 4, 2007 at 7:47 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Jeff, a resident of Portola Valley
on Jun 4, 2007 at 8:52 am

The 'global war on terror' is a hoax designed to allow Bush to become a monarch while removing our liberties one by one. Traffic accidents kill many more Americans in one year than terrorists will ever be able to kill, yet we don't classify traffic deaths as a danger to our survival as a nation. Israel is a tiny country in the midst of an unfriendly Arab world and had to deal with terrorism for generations. However, you won't find even one Israeli who claims that terrorism threatens Israel's survival as a nation and country. The bush administration and its various branches, based on their record, can't be believed or trusted on anything. They can blabber about foiling a terrorist plot all they want and I and most Americans won't believe a word they say.


Posted by Marques, a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 4, 2007 at 10:16 am

A friend in the venture capital field once told me that when an entrepreneur seeking financing is caught lying or deceiving even once in his presentation, he is tagged forever as untrustworthy and no reputable venture capital firm will ever deal with him/her. The Bush regime finds itself in the exact same spot as a dishonest entrepreneur. Their standard operating procedure from the very beginning has been lies, deception and fraudulence. Now nobody with a brain would believe a word they say about anything.


Posted by Draw the Line, a resident of Stanford
on Jun 4, 2007 at 11:09 am

I was interested in this thread, but I see it has turned into the usual, so this will probably be a waste of time.

Let's start:

Not sure where any of it plays, but I DO know that one of the great reversals of this admin was the one that allows us to use known criminals as informants. This had been deleted in the 90s, to our great detriment. This is a case of it being a good thing it came back.

Patriot Act: Repeat...it is nothing more than an extension of the same laws we used/use in criminal international/national drug crime cases...only we are now able to use it for terror cases. There has not been one, single case of "abuse" of the law since it was reported, even though EVEN Pelosi tried to find one. No citizen has given up any liberties with it, or any more "liberties" than we had already "given up" in fighting drug crime.

That said, no clue how much it had a play in this case. Have they built some of the case through intercepting a call recieved from a known terrorist to one of the "cell' members? ( the famous "warrantless wire tapping" the uninformed complain about)

Time will tell...maybe

I happily give up my freedom to plot the torture and deaths of fellow citizens to purchase safety for them. I have lost no freedoms at all. I can check anything out of the library I want to check out, and I, like any citizen, can call anyone I want, period, without fearing "warrantless wiretapping".


Posted by Big Mama, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 4, 2007 at 11:17 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Sarlat, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 4, 2007 at 11:57 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Anne-Marrie, a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Jun 4, 2007 at 1:20 pm

1.Islamic terrorism is not the defining threat of our time. There are many threats that are far more dangerous. Bin Laden and his cronies are backward religious criminals. The Bushies insistence of framing this problem as a fight for the survival of our nation gives Bin Laden and his likes their power and importance among some Muslims. Evev 9/11, the great success story of "Islamofascism", could've been foiled if it weren't for the utter incompetence, stupidity and arrogance of the Bushies, Condi Rice being a case in point. Once we start giving up one liberty after another, we will never get them back, we will just continue losing them till we have none left.
2. Using convicted drug dealers as agents prvocateurs smells very badly of trying to induce some hotheads into doing something they wouldn't have attempted otherwise, for the sake of justifying the Patriot Act and the continues loss of our liberties. This is just as bad as terrorism itself. Terrorism has many faces, one of them is a corrupt regime attempting to destroy a nation's democracy by using a grossly exeggerated threat to its security.


Posted by Sugar Ray, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 4, 2007 at 1:37 pm

well said Anne-Marrie.
More power to you!


Posted by Jim, a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 4, 2007 at 1:40 pm

Al,

The Patriot Act was put in place to try to prevent another 9-11. Another way to look at it is that prior to 9-11 thare had been an overreaction by the Church committee (and similar legislation) to previous actions of the FBI/CIA. The Church committee and its supporters pretty much ignored national security issues, especially those which involved U.S. citizens and/or legal aliens in this country. This approach left open a wide loophole for terrorists to exploit...leading to 9-11. The Patriot Act now allows the CIA and NSA to communicate with the FBI, without serious impediments in serious national security cases. The news conference by NYPD mentioned the cooperation between intelligence agencies. This is probably the most we will hear on this issue. But it is 'code' to me that the NYPD, FBI, CIA, NSA, etc. were on the same page. This is a good thing.

For those who invoke Franklin: If liberty is your main issue, do you support the Bill of Rights? Especially the Second and Tenth Ammendments?

For the others: I have nothing for you. You might think I am chasing you.


Posted by anon., a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jun 4, 2007 at 2:15 pm

Jim, as you must know, you are entitled to your beliefs and all that.
It sounds like you think the patriot act is a good thing- making the nation
safer from the boogeyman and all the rest. However, don't be dismayed if
the majority of americans don't agree with you, and that they don't like
handing their hard one rights and liberties over to a bunch of scoundrels whose
bank accounts and pork bellies get bigger each day as the "war on terror" continues
with no apparent end in sight. Also, don't be suprised when you discover that this
whole scandal of which you speak (9-11) is an inside job. I am sure this will come as
a huge suprise to you, but you need to understand that it ain't all love and good will
here in america, and when the state of affairs smells a bit rotten, that's because we
have not fully uncovered all the corruption that has run amok in this land of the free
since old georgie stepped inside and claimed the throne.


Posted by Dave, a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 4, 2007 at 4:13 pm

All the information and intelligence necessary to foil 9/11 had been in place a fw months before 9/11. The national security team, starting with Bush, Cheney and rice refused to listen, discuss, see or hear anything. Whether it because of sheer incompetence, stupidity, ignorance or something much more sinister is still unclear. For that they want us give up our constitutional rights and allow Bush to become a monarch. Never. We don't need or want the Patriot Act or Homeland Security-if the FBI and CIA ever decided to cooperate, they would do a much better job at protecting the nation and we will not have to become a police state.


Posted by Franklin Invoker, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 4, 2007 at 4:47 pm

Jim,

I support the Bill of Rights, but I suspect that you and I interpret the Second and Tenth Amendments (as well as the Fourth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments) somewhat differently.


Posted by Albert, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 4, 2007 at 4:52 pm

Bush didn't give us our constitutional rights and he has no right to take any of them away from us. Both the Patriot Act and HLS are un-American, undemocratic and even if they made us a bit more safe, which they don't, they should never have been allowed to be established. We need to get rid of them immediately.


Posted by SkepticAl, a resident of Ventura
on Jun 4, 2007 at 4:56 pm

Jim,

Maybe I should have been more specific. I'm all for increased communication among agencies, and to the extent that the Patriot Act facilitates that, sounds good to me.

The parts of the Patriot Act that concern me have to do with warrants and subpoenas, and how far they can go without getting a judge involved.

Draw the Line -

"Just an extension" of laws sounds like an expansion of power to me. Extend... expand - if the whole thing were so benign there'd be no debate, or maybe no need for the Act itself. I'm confused about your assertion about no abuses. Did you miss this?

Washington Post, 3/10/07
Lawmakers from both parties called Friday for limits on anti-terrorism laws in response to a Justice Department report that the FBI improperly obtained telephone logs, banking records and other personal information on thousands of Americans.
The audit by the department's inspector general detailed widespread abuse of the FBI's authority to seize personal details about tens of thousands of people without court oversight through the use of national security letters.
The disclosures prompted a public apology from FBI Director Robert Mueller and promises of reform from Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who was the focus of a new tide of criticism from Democrats and Republicans already angry about his handling of the controversial firings of eight federal prosecutors.

Continues here
Web Link


Posted by Draw the Line, a resident of Stanford
on Jun 4, 2007 at 5:02 pm

I am always fascinated by the degree to which people who espouse to have an open mind that wants free speech are the first to try to squelch it through derision.

I am also intrigued by the notion of anyone believing a huge burdeaucracy can change the course of years of destruction in just a few months.

And, much to your pleasure I will post no more on this thread after this remark, I laughed when I saw you didn't understand what I meant by my gladly giving up my "rights" to plot torture and death in order to buy safety. Shows the difference in our frames of reference.



Posted by Brendan Rankin, a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 4, 2007 at 5:41 pm

I prefer Jefferson's quote.

"A society that will trade a little liberty for a little order will lose both and deserve neither.

If a nation expects to be both ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." - Thomas Jefferson


Posted by Anon., a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 4, 2007 at 5:53 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Jim, a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 4, 2007 at 5:53 pm

Al,

The Patriot Act reduced some burdens on law enforcement, but it did not eliminate the need for warrants in most cases('ticking bomb' situation might be an exception). Even that one is open to debate.

The following is a from a link that opposes the Patriot Act ( Web Link )


"The Patriot Act makes it easier for federal law enforcement to get court orders and subpoenas in many situations. For example, the act makes it possible for courts to issue national search warrants in terrorism cases. This removes the hurdle of getting multiple warrants in different jurisdictions."

The PA also allows roving wire taps so that criminals/terrorists cannot simply get the heat off their tail by switching to a new phone. This makes eminent sense to me.

The thing that is remarkable to me is the following quote from the above link:

"Library privacy advocates challenge the view that library patron record privacy is trivial compared with stopping terrorism."

Presumably, they would have objected to an FBI warrant to see books checked out by Mohammed Atta, related to flying commerical jet planes. Luckily, we are now in safer hands than the librarians and civil liberties purists.


Posted by Cardinal, a resident of Stanford
on Jun 4, 2007 at 6:03 pm

You can go into a black hole, but you can't come out. When people give up their liberties, they create a black hole. Those liberties will be sucked into the black hole and never reappear. I am totally amazed that Americans, who have always prized freedom above everything, are willing to give up their most basic liberties for the very questionable prospect of more security. Remember Bush's response while sitting in that Florida classroom on 9/11 and having the news whispered in his ear? Do you trust that incompetent bumbler to provide you with more security in exchange for your liberty?


Posted by Anon., a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 4, 2007 at 6:15 pm

Cardinal for President!
(or cabinet position)


Posted by Jim, a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 4, 2007 at 7:07 pm

I don't want to waste much time on this, but to those who sing the praises of pure liberty, I would say that I, as a college sophomore, used to make such panegyrics. It took a long time, but I eventually grew up.

For instance, I came to appreciate Lincoln's tough choices. He obliterated habeus corpus in order to win the Civil War. But, contrary to some posts on this thread, we recovered. V-mail in WWII was heavily censored - guess what, we recovered from that, too.

OK, I have already spent too much time on this stuff.


Posted by anon., a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 4, 2007 at 7:20 pm

Jim, so glad to hear you've grown up since your collegiate days!
Your use of big and uncommon words is also quite commendable.
Another sign of your maturity, clearly.
For the record: Lincoln did not, as you say, obliterate habeus corpus.
He did suspend it. He was also in a much much much graver situation.
Perhaps you didn't take enough history classes to fully appreciate his
predicament. Perhaps a little to much panergyrating on your part.
Don't forget, Honest Abe was trying to save the union, not destroy it.


Posted by Albert, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 4, 2007 at 7:20 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] Mail censorship during a world war isn't the same as losing habeus corpus. You have to keep in mind who you are losing your liberties to. FDR and Bush are entirely different universes. Bush, Cheney and the people behind them have nothing but contempt for the constitution and for democracy. Any liberty you concede to them will disappear and not be given back. You will not get more security, almost certainly less, and you will not be free any more. Even for a young and very naive person this should be a very scary prospect.


Posted by Dave, a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 4, 2007 at 7:39 pm

What ever happen to questioning authority in this country? just becasue the FBI claimed it had foiled a plot by Islamic terrorists to attack JFK you just take their word for it? Ever heard of agents provocateurs who entice stupid people to plan stupid deeds and then notify their handlers, which is very likely what happened in this case? After the last 6 years, one should take anything coming out of the FBI and any other agency associate with homeland security with great suspicion. Remember who their boss is and remember who could've foiled 9/11 if he hadn't been so clueless and ignorant.


Posted by SkepticAl, a resident of Ventura
on Jun 4, 2007 at 9:07 pm

There's certainly room for debate about the abstract principles here, but what makes it so frightening when removed from the abstract is seeing who's in charge. The incompetence in the White House is the insurmountable obstacle to winning my support for anything beyond the most basic improvements - like clearing up communication issues or allowing a surveillance subpoena to follow the suspect.


Posted by Dave, a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 5, 2007 at 6:45 am

Unfortunately it's much more than incompetence. This administration is awash with bad intentions. They would use it to go after their political opponents and those who disagree with them, even if they were from their own party. It would fit with their unitary president ideas in which the president isn't subjected to congressional oversight as commander in chief. Remember that Cheney has always been opposed to restraints on the president's authority and has always opposed congressional oversight on the executive branch. It would really mean having a generalissimo in the white house.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 5, 2007 at 1:17 pm

When you start out hating, you leave reason behind. I never hated the commies this much and they were shooting at me. Years from now, scholars will decide these were the crazy times based on the inability of critics to set aside their anger. What was that poem, "A solliloquy in a Spanish Cloister"? This reads like that.


Posted by anon., a resident of Community Center
on Jun 5, 2007 at 6:41 pm

Those were people shootin' at ya' wally
not commies
people caught up in history
like people today
I understand that it's difficult putting your WWII mindset down to rest
and that you needed to dehumanize eachother in order to be better at killing
but don't forget
the war is over
for you
pop
and the all the rest


Posted by Jim, a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 5, 2007 at 7:32 pm

I have noticed quite a few posts on this and other threads that are full of hate (expressed towards Jews, veterans, Bush, etc.). This kind of expressed hatred is often associated with self-hatred, sometimes cloaked in a narcissistic sense of supremacy. Often, it is more prosaic: "I can't join 'em, so I'll beat 'em! Either way, it is a peronality disorder that is best ignored, unless they start to get taken seriously. I don't see that happening on this site.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 5, 2007 at 8:38 pm

Technically "my" war is not over. I still look at the nighttime aerial view of Korea and give thanks I helped save the South from the darkness that still holds the North in prison.
Anon, I know the guys shooting at me were people, because I captured two of them November 26, 1950. They were also communists and they were also shooting at me. And I am not your pop, or you would have developed better. Your pop, if you know him, would be ashamed he did not teach you.


Posted by Whatever, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 5, 2007 at 8:39 pm


Jim:

All Jews are perfect?

Really?

And who is the mentally-ill narcissist?


Posted by anon., a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 5, 2007 at 8:47 pm

Walter
glad to hear you found some people
I am sure that they were well acquainted with Marx and Engels
and were truly fighting for a Marxist state
and not simply somebody else's pawn
I suppose if they were commies
than you were a capitalist?
does that mean your an entrepeneur
you war hero you?


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 7, 2007 at 9:15 am

I make no claim to heroism, just competence as a combat infantryman.
You do not have to hate someone to kill them, nor love them to let them live.
When a car is heading toward you it is foolish to wonder if the driver is licensed before jumping out of the way.


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