Friday, March 23, 2007

"conscripted as a secret informer"

A very interesting op-ed piece by an anonymous contributor, about the ongoing national security gag order the FBI has slapped on him. First, credit to the Washington Post for waiving their usual rule against publishing anonymous pieces -- this guy is banned by law from saying ANYTHING about the national security letter (NSL) even though the FBI has, after a court battle, decided they don't need the information they'd asked him for. The writer also notes that the FBI NSL had no judicial review. In the writer's words,
I resent being conscripted as a secret informer for the government and being made to mislead those who are close to me, especially because I have doubts about the legitimacy of the underlying investigation.
Doesn't that sound like something an East German citizen might have written in 1980? As the writer says, yes there are times when secrecy is necessary, but...
I recognize that there may sometimes be a need for secrecy in certain national security investigations. But I've now been under a broad gag order for three years, and other NSL recipients have been silenced for even longer. At some point -- a point we passed long ago -- the secrecy itself becomes a threat to our democracy. In the wake of the recent revelations, I believe more strongly than ever that the secrecy surrounding the government's use of the national security letters power is unwarranted and dangerous. I hope that Congress will at last recognize the same thing.
Now I bet the FBI launches an investigation into this guy's identity. Maybe this will hit the news in six months. Or maybe it won't, and they'll arrest this guy and everybody associated with the case will have a gag order against them, too. And we'll only guess at that by a process of elimination and his circle of friends noticing his disappearance...

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