The Department of Homeland Security has always faced limits on its ability to conduct surveillance of U.S. citizens without their consent. A new report suggests that President Joe Biden’s team may try to render those limits ineffective.
“The Department of Homeland Security is limited in how it can monitor citizens online without justification and is banned from activities like assuming false identities to gain access to private messaging apps used by extremist groups such as the Proud Boys or Oath Keepers,” CNN reported Monday.
“Instead, federal authorities can only browse through unprotected information on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook and other open online platforms.”
Apparently, the Biden administration feels that it needs to spy on Americans by whatever means necessary. As such, it reportedly wants to use private research firms to do the dirty work.
“By partnering with research firms who have more visibility in this space, the DHS could produce information that would likely be beneficial to both it and the FBI, which can’t monitor US citizens in this way without first getting a warrant or having the pretext of an ongoing investigation,” CNN reported.
In other words, private research firms are not subject to the same restrictions as the DHS. This means that they can assume false identities and spy on unsuspecting Americans.
CNN reported that the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency both have restrictions on “collecting intelligence domestically,” so private research firms seem to be the best option for gathering such information.
It seems obvious that there is a good reason for restricting government agencies’ ability to spy on Americans. Namely, it prevents the United States from turning into some sort of dystopian police state.
CNN briefly touched on this concern, but put a spin on it in a way that only a leftist could.
Should DHS be allowed to spy on Americans?
While the network admitted that the DHS has faced scrutiny for spying on public citizens, it cited last summer’s riots in Portland as the prime example.
The left-wing media outlet reported that the DHS response to those riots “included collecting intelligence reports on journalists and unmasking private citizens.” The implication, of course, is that this behavior was wrong.
At the same time, CNN implied it was necessary to spy on conservatives and those on the right, namely those who participated in the Jan. 6 incursion into the U.S. Capitol:
“That leaves the Biden administration with a key question: how to address mistakes made during the Trump administration while also finding ways to respond to what critics say were blatant failures by US intelligence agencies to act on warnings ahead of the January 6 attack on the US Capitol?”
At this point, CNN might as well just come out and say it. The real goal here is to spy on conservatives without the fear that the same tactics could be used against liberals in a future administration.
The reason that CNN thinks Trump’s DHS made a “mistake” by “unmasking private citizens” is that those citizens happened to be on the left side of the aisle. If Biden’s DHS did the exact same thing to citizens who were present at the Jan. 6 incursion, the left would cheer it.
In fact, we have already seen leftists perform a complete 180-degree turn in their rhetoric regarding responses to protests.
According to Business Insider, Democratic leaders in Oregon including Gov. Kate Brown, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler all denounced the DHS response to last summer’s riots in Portland.
Rosenblum went as far as to sue Trump’s DHS for supposedly violating the Constitution by sending officers to protect federal buildings.
Yet just a few months later when another federal building, namely the Capitol, was attacked, that same left denounced Trump for not responding more harshly.
Using private firms to spy on Americans is just an extension of the same idea. The leftist media wants left-wing groups to be free to protest, riot and loot without fear of being watched beforehand or reprimanded at the scene.
Meanwhile, they want conservatives to be monitored at every turn and face the full force of the government if they ever participate in protests or riots of their own.
As a general rule, protests should be allowed, and domestic terrorism should not. However, Americans have no reason to trust that Biden’s DHS is qualified to determine the difference.
So far, the phrase “domestic terrorism” has a much broader definition when referring to Republicans and a much narrower one when referring to Democrats. Giving DHS resources to spy on Americans also gives them the power to determine who should be spied on, and that is a dangerous path to go down.
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