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Saturday, December 17, 2005

ACLU's selective indignation

Posted: December 17, 2005
1:00 a.m. Eastern - Jack Cashill

© 2005 WorldNetDaily.com

Predictably, the American Civil Liberties Union is expressing "shock" that the Bush administration had authorized NSA eavesdropping on the overseas communications of hundreds of people living within the United States.

If the ACLU or the New York Times, which is breaking the story, were shocked by the Clinton administration's politically motivated spying on innocent and often prominent American citizens, there is no easily discovered record of the same.

In May 1994, a Democratic Congress passed and President Clinton signed the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act. This speech-chilling law made it a federal crime, among other offenses, "to injure, intimidate or interfere with persons seeking to obtain or provide reproductive health-care services." At the time the bill was passed, 22 years after the passage of Roe v Wade, only one abortion doctor had been murdered in the United States. To put this in perspective, 41 cab drivers had been murdered in New York City just the year before without prompting federal legislation.

In August 1994, Attorney General Janet Reno established the Task Force on the Violence Against Abortion Providers Conspiracy, often referred to as "VAAPCON." VAAPCON was charged with determining whether there was a nationwide conspiracy to commit acts of violence against abortion providers. This task force coordinated the efforts of the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, U.S. Postal Inspectors and U.S. Marshals.

The Clinton administration had convened no comparable task force to deal with another seemingly minor terrorist problem brewing at the time. In the year before VAAPCON was authorized, Islamic terrorists had bombed the World Trade Center killing six and causing a billion dollars worth of damage. Later in that year, the FBI interrupted the terrorists' planned "Day of Terror," in which they had targeted the U.N., the Holland Tunnel, the Lincoln Tunnel, the George Washington Bridge and the Manhattan Federal Building, all in New York.

"The Justice Department conducted a two-year grand jury investigation," the New York Times would later report matter-of-factly. "Agents pursued some anti-abortion activists using surveillance teams. But investigators never found a specific plot against abortion clinics and staff members."

The Justice Department itself acknowledged VAAPCON's failure. "The evidence gathered did not support a definitive conclusion as to the existence of a nationwide conspiracy," reads a later task force report on the subject. Still, VAAPCON showed the FBI and local police just how determined the Clinton administration was to protect the abortion industry. In 1995, Clinton would direct each of the 93 United States attorneys to establish a local task force to coordinate law enforcement efforts relating to clinic violence.

Even more problematic is that this investigation, unlike the post 9-11 NSA effort, was directed almost exclusively at the president's political enemies.

Through the Freedom of Information Act, Judicial Watch secured a series of damning Justice Department documents. These revealed that VAAPCON had been used to spy on at least 900 groups and individuals. Among those targeted were Roman Catholic Cardinal John O'Connor of New York, the Rev. Jerry Falwell, Feminists for Life, the National Rifle Association and the U.S. Bishops' Conference of the Roman Catholic Church. Many of these targets were explicitly Christian and openly opposed to anti-abortion violence.

"What in the world," asked Judicial Watch's general counsel at the time, Larry Klayman, "are Janet Reno, Hillary, Bill and their VAAPCON task force doing using law-enforcement personnel to infiltrate, collect and assemble database information of this type?"

There were many in the FBI as well who did not consider this either a valid or practical use of federal power. They did not object to the inclusion of suspected criminals in the investigation, but rather, as one senior FBI agent told the Washington Times magazine, Insight, "It was the collection of political and personal information on people such as the cardinal that many of us found objectionable." As the agent added, "This is obviously political in nature and something we work hard to avoid."

Although there is reason to be concerned about all government surveillance, it is the uses of that surveillance and the selective indignation of our watchdogs that the concerned citizen finds most troubling.

Jack Cashill is an Emmy-award winning independent writer and producer with a Ph.D. in American Studies from Purdue.

It is clear that the left is suffering from "selective outrage" as well as the ACLU from "selective indignation"!

Linked at Stop the ACLU

Linked at Oblogatory Anecdotes


Blogger Adam said...

Exactly why we need to oppose Bush's NSA program and why Democrats should have been opposing Clinton's spy programs. If Americans continue to be hypocritical and defend the constitution only when they themselves are attacked but don't mind when their enemies are, we will continue to lose our rights like we are now.

Only a principled, consistent stand against domestic spying programs can stop them from being used for political pressure.

12/19/2005 9:36 AM  
Blogger loboinok said...

The NYT and the left are saying Bush committed a impeachable offense when he authorized the FISA to monitor INTERNATIONAL calls. Smoke and nonsense!

Why do the Democrats want to tie the President's hands and limit our country's ability to intercept communications that may and have saved American lives?

"Only a principled, consistent stand against domestic spying programs can stop them from being used for political pressure."

You stated it yourself... domestic spying.

Show us the facts concerning Bush's domestic spying.

I've already shown you Clintons. This didn't start with Clinton... http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/eo12139.htm Carter did as well.

Read this when you have a few minutes http://cryptome.org/echelon-60min.htm

12/19/2005 9:43 PM  

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