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.
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 www.tbadk.com . He lives in
Kaneohe Hawaii and is the Republican Candidate for the Senate
seat now held by Dan Akaka (see www.electmarkbeatty.com
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