SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska



Balancing Patriots and Privacy
By Mark Beatty


May 28, 2006

Many discussions about the Patriot Act make a subtle but fatal error: security and privacy is not an either/or proposition. The federal and state governments should have expanded powers to catch both terrorists and illegal drug traffickers, AND every US Citizen should have full 7th amendment access to the courts. Many lawmakers challenge the powers of enforcement while failing to address the real problem: a legal system which is often unfair, disappointing, and thus the deserving object of ridicule.

Consider the argument about privacy that protects one government agency from getting the tax returns from the IRS about a suspect. As I recall from my criminal intelligence and counter terrorist training, a big indicator of illegal activity is people spending way beyond their reported income. Consider the person who consistently files a $40,000 a year income tax return, but who is living a lifestyle that consumes $300,000 in expenses. A criminal or terrorist investigator should have access to records that another agency of the government already has. Recall that a big 9/11 complaint against the FBI was because they could not process information from various agencies.

On the other hand, consider an employee in a municipality that gathers tax information on an individual to pursue them for sexual favors or to get information on their company so that a relative can win government contracts. I hope this makes every potential jury member reading this angry enough to stand up and scream "outrageous!" The solution, however, is not to remove the ability of gathering information for a legitimate purpose, but to have a fair court system.

The court system is broke. It is the subject of many a joke. Some and perhaps many judges let defendants delay and destroy evidence without any consequences. Some big corporations and insurances companies have expended billions on a public relationship campaign to bias jury members. My present pessimistic estimate is that 60% of all cases will likely receive an unfair verdict.

Bad guys come in different kinds and sizes. Sometimes the bad guy is the terrorist or drug smuggler who should not be given the advantage of unnecessary limits put on law officers. Sometimes the bad guy is a government employee who violates privacy rights-they should not be given the advantage of a legal system that is unfair to the injured.

The solution is both patriots and privacy, not either/or.

Mark Beatty
Kaneohe, Hawaii - USA

About: Mark Beatty, MA, THM, PHD, MBA, JD served in an army homeland security mission in Hawaii for a year after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. He presently practices law to include both tax consultation and civil rights cases against government organizations (see . He lives in Kaneohe Hawaii and is the Republican Candidate for the Senate seat now held by Dan Akaka (see .


Note: Comments published on Viewpoints are the opinions of the writer
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.


Write a Letter -------Read Letters

E-mail the Editor

Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska