Why America cannot tolerate domestic spying: Exhibit A

Many Americans say widespread, intrusive domestic spying is fine “because if you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to fear.”

We all deserve to live our private lives free from government employees or government contractors watching us. But the most compelling argument against domestic spying is that it empowers bureaucrats who control America’s massive spy apparatus and immense spy databases to manipulate, blackmail, and control politicians.

JFK was likely murdered because the men who really control America knew that Kennedy ordered a withdrawal from Vietnam fifty days before his assassination. RFK was likely murdered by that same powerful shadow government just as his ascension to the presidency seemed likely. The murderers must have similarly feared JFK and RFK’s brother, Senator Ted Kennedy. And, indeed, we have just learned that the FBI spied extensively on Teddy:

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy lived with constant threats on his life after the assassinations of his brothers and was monitored by the FBI for his possible ties to Communist radicals in Latin America, according to a trove of FBI files on the late senator released Monday….

Longtime FBI director J. Edgar Hoover is a regular presence in the documents, which touch on some of the controversies involving Kennedy and his family — and Hoover’s own troubled legacy of spying on Americans. The FBI, for example, closely monitored Kennedy’s fact-finding trip to Mexico, Central America and South America in 1961, and one document shows that Hoover received a file from an FBI employee in Mexico City that said the senator “is interested in meeting with ‘leftists’ to talk with them and determine why they think as they do.‘’

The document added that “the Kennedy party” was meeting with a university official in Mexico “on whom this office and bureau has information indicating communist sympathies.‘’

In a statement accompanying the document release, the FBI said that “given the Bureau’s long interest in the influence of Central American revolutionaries and communists on American radicals, the Bureau took an interest in Kennedy’s travels.” During the trip, the documents show, the FBI recovered a notebook kept by Kennedy documenting his travels that was accidentally left on his airplane.

The U.S. government has no right to spy on U.S. politicians! When entrenched bureaucrats spy on America’s elected officials, the knowledge they acquire can be used to manipulate and control those politicians. The American people lose, and bureaucrats representing non-democratic forces win.

Most frighteningly, knowledge of what powerful people know and are planning to do can be used to murder them before they go public with that knowledge. One list of potential political murders in America lists over 200 names. (And that list is quite incomplete. The first two names I looked up, Athan Gibbs and Andrew Veal, aren’t listed.) Of course, not all of those were actually murdered. But the number of political murders in recent American history could well be over 100! Many of those were powerful politicians — like House Majority Leader Hale Boggs, who had sat on The Warren Commission and expressed great doubts about it, and Sen. Paul Wellstone, the most progressive man in Congress and a powerful, persuasive politician — who might have changed the course of U.S. history.

The mere possibility that domestic spying is enabling a secret elite to manipulate U.S. politics demands that we allow only selected, targeted, judicially-approved domestic spying.

Posted by James on Monday, June 14, 2010