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With the latest revelations coming to light about the letters that were tainted with ricin being sent to President Obama and NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the need for transparency is becoming more clear every single day. It has now been revealed that a computer takes high resolution images of every letter and package front and back and keeps them on file. This is only the latest in a series of domestic surveillance admissions here on American soil.
The mailings were intercepted at various points in the mailing process. The horrible potential of these letters were stopped and it was largely due to the MICT machines that provided them the information. These machines literally keep records of what you have mailed down to the letter. Fortunately this surveillance did what they intended and saved some folks in the process. That said, this latest information shows that we need to have a long talk with our government about transparency.
After 9/11, we found out that we would have to give up some personal freedoms in the interest of national security and protection. Most Americans embraced what was needed and we banded together to get the job done. Some rules were put in place that was designed to prevent terrorism and domestic crime in and out of our country. Somewhere along the way we have lost sight of the programs and stopped the dialogue.
The United States government and the NSA needs to come out and provide the American public with a comprehensive list of the ways in which we are being watched. We need to know when our phone lines are being tapped. We need to know when our mail is being monitored and we need to know when our Internet access is being followed and documented. Any domestic surveillance that is going on that would normally require a warrant should be revealed voluntarily and quickly.
This transparency is the only way that we will have the ability to have an open and honest discussion about what is truly necessary. How else can we have that discussion? We don’t have the facts. That much is clear based on the revelations in recent years of surveillance we were unaware of. The American people have a right to choose when something is excessive. Give them the tools to do just that and we will remain protected.