Take a look at Footnote 3 in Gillmore vs Gonzales.
Apparently a three judge panel of the 9th circuit accepts, and accepts without even a hint of protest, the proposition that the US is now a nation in which citizens can be compelled to abide by secret laws.
Apparently the US Congress gave an Undersecretary (an under secretary, not even the full Secretary!) of the Department of "Homeland" Security the power to declare certain limited class of "information" to be "sensitive security information" or "SSI".
OK, I'll accept the premise that "information" like the deployment of security checkpoints, the sensitivity of monitoring devices, or the energy yield of a bar of marshmallows, chocolate, and Rice Krispies might be appropriate to be kept locked away in some ugly Steelcase file cabinet underneath Pennsylvania Avenue.
But some weenie in the Dep't of 'Homeland' Security shredded the law so badly that the regulations that purport to merely restate and clarify that law end up saying that pretty much any "program" or "plan" can be labeled as SSI, including, apparently, programs and plans that amount to secret constraints on what a citizen may or may not do and on how he or she may do it. Talk about the old cliché of giving an inch and taking a mile!
To top it off, the court (in the main text leading to footnote 3) tells us that these secret laws change weekly, are not even written down, and vary from place to place!
We have a president who stomps around the countryside bewailing the tendency of courts to act as legislatures. Well, here we have a situation in which one of his own administrative agencies has undertaken to stretch the plain words of a statute beyond the breaking point and along the way creating, in our Land of the Free, a system of secret laws. One can only wonder whether the secret laws also came with a secret police.
My government has raised hypocrisy to a new level. On one hand it illegally spies on us, the citizens, demands that we present "our papers" when we fly (and, I hear, also when we use a bus, or take a train), and has required, via its ICANN, that those who engage in activity on the internet abandon all hope of privacy.
My government now sticks its nose into the affairs of citizens as a dog sticks its nose into a crotch - without permission, without reservation, and without shame.
And the same government that is dismantling the right of the people to be secure against unreasonable government intrusion into their homes and papers has the audacity to say that it can rewrite an act of Congress to create a system of secret laws that Citizens can not know but must abide else suffer consequences.
Kafka lives - in the Department of Homeland Security. And real conservatives, like Barry Goldwater, must be spinning at in their graves at this new DC regime that presses for not merely unlimited government, but government that is done in secret so that the citizens and voters can not learn what is being done in their names.
The death of the American Way will not come at the hands of a foreigner, it will come from the paranoia of our own government and the apathy of voters. The 2006 mid-term Congressional elections will occur this fall. We may not be able to change the executive of the United States until 2008, but we certainly can kick-out those in Congress who are fellow travelers in the executive's endeavor to destroy our nation's principles and integrity.Posted by karl at January 29, 2006 2:14 AM