Well, it didn’t take long, did it?
In the USA, the curtain opened on new anti-terror follies Wednesday when three Senate committees, in blustery response to the London bombings, voted to extend the power of the FBI under the Patriot Act to obtain library records without a subpoena. Exactly what suicide bomber or sleeper cell has so far been exposed by this powerful new intelligence weapon, we are not told. Did Osama fail to return his copy of ‘Harry Potter’? Or ‘Hijacking for Idiots’?
What we have here is the great con: to get us to pull each other’s hair over the sanctity of library card privacy. We’re dragged into some nit-wit debate over the “balance between security and civil liberties” — with the defenders of America against terrorism sneering at the sissies from the ACLU.
Civil libertarians are all shook up that the FBI is going through our summer reading list. My concern is deeper. What I want to know is, who at the FBI is poring over my choice of novels, how much do we pay this guy and why isn’t he reviewing Swiss and Pakistani bank transfer records instead?
If our nation’s safety depends on enlisting Marian the Librarian for anti-terror espionage, then I’m checking out.
Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestseller, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. Subscribe to his commentaries or view his investigative reports for BBC Television at www.GregPalast.com.