November 24, 2002

Snooping Through Everything, Except Gun Purchases

The Bush government, now that the Republican Congress has nixed the Stalinesque TIPS program under Ashcroft, has introduced another $10 million program for spying on every detail of everyone's personal affairs, every purchase, every phone call, every e-mail. This time under convicted perjurer John Poindexter, the latest Reagan retread to be pulled forth from the suburbs of Hell by the Baby Bush administration. Somehow, however, as McGrory points out in a very entertaining fashion, this great curiosity of the government stops short when it comes to finding out about gun purchases, even bulk purchases. (See The Washington Post.)

Since the justification for all this secret police stuff is supposed to be defending the country against terrorists, it would seem that weapons purchases would be more important than most of the other data the new spymasters are intent on gathering. But the NRA is a big contributor and Ashcroft owes the group a lot. So does Bush. So somehow that particular area is sacrosanct and will not be spied upon. So terrorists who don't use guns had better watch out. Those who do, we won't worry about for now. We can't expect to do everything. As long as those library books are being checked, and all the e-mails in the entire United States are being monitored by God knows whom. That should cover it.

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