Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Jihadis Needn't Fear the Eye of Sauron

We've been assured and reassured by our political leaders in Congress, the White House, and at the NSA that we have nothing to fear from the intrusive surveillance they're conducting on every electronic communication of every American. The goal, we're promised, is to keep us safe, it's for our own good, it has prevented terror attacks in the past, and we can trust them.

Well, maybe so, although when government tells its citizens that it's doing something for their own good we can be quite certain that we're about to lose another chunk of our liberty. When this administration tells us that we can trust them we feel a little like the young woman about to have her chastity debauched by the smooth-talking rake. Where is the evidence, after all, that these people can be trusted to be honest about anything?

At any rate, Mr. Obama's assurances might have a little more credibility if it weren't for the fact that one of the places our intrepid snoops refuse to aim their antennas is the very place one is most likely to find future terrorists incubating - Islamic mosques.

Investors Business Daily informs us of this puzzling exception:
The White House assures that tracking our every phone call and keystroke is to stop terrorists, and yet it won't snoop in mosques, where the terrorists are. That's right, the government's sweeping surveillance of our most private communications excludes the jihad factories where homegrown terrorists are radicalized.

Since October 2011, mosques have been off-limits to FBI agents. No more surveillance or undercover string operations without high-level approval from a special oversight body at the Justice Department dubbed the Sensitive Operations Review Committee. Who makes up this body, and how do they decide requests? Nobody knows; the names of the chairman, members and staff are kept secret.

We do know the panel was set up under pressure from Islamist groups who complained about FBI stings at mosques. Just months before the panel's formation, the Council on American-Islamic Relations teamed up with the ACLU to sue the FBI for allegedly violating the civil rights of Muslims in Los Angeles by hiring an undercover agent to infiltrate and monitor mosques there.

Before mosques were excluded from the otherwise wide domestic spy net the administration has cast, the FBI launched dozens of successful sting operations against homegrown jihadists — inside mosques — and disrupted dozens of plots against the homeland.
Rather than violate the politically incorrect taboos against ethnic profiling our liberal protectors instead eavesdrop on every American in the country except the very people most likely to present the greatest threat. It's analogous to airport security strip-searching children and grandparents and allowing sullen Arabic-speaking men with box cutters to board the plane unchallenged.

Perhaps it makes sense to the policy makers in the White House to scrutinize your mail and mine to nip in the bud any atrocities we may be plotting against our countrymen while fastidiously averting their eyes from the very communities which have spawned so many of these crimes in the past, but it doesn't make any sense at all to most normal Americans.