Saturday, September 13, 2008

Alien and Sedition and the FBI

From the Washington Post September 13, 2008:

"Under the new plan, agents pursuing national security leads could employ physical surveillance, deploy informants and engage in "pretext" interviews with their identities hidden to assess the danger posed by a subject. Such threat assessments could be initiated even without a particular fact or concrete lead that a person had engaged in wrongdoing."

Compare the above to:

The Alien Friends Act (officially An Act Concerning Aliens) authorized the president to deport any resident alien considered "dangerous to the peace and safety of the United States."
The Sedition Act (officially An Act for the Punishment of Certain Crimes against the United States) made it a crime to publish "false, scandalous, and malicious writing" against the government or its officials.

The above are #2 & #4 of the 1798 Alien and Sedition Acts. These were aimed at French immigrants living in the United States. The Acts were deemed so repulsive by many Americans that they probably resulted in the election of Thomas Jefferson as president in 1800. He had been in opposition to the Acts based on the Bill of Rights.

Think about this in today's terms and it is not far fetched to see parallels in our attempt to sanction foreign nations deemed enemies of "Democracy" and spy on alleged terrorists merely because their neighbor calls the FBI.

Deja vu all over again.

PS The third Alien and Sedition Act, passed in 1798, is still in effect:

The Alien Enemies Act (officially An Act Respecting Alien Enemies) authorized the president to apprehend and deport resident aliens if their home countries were at war with the United States.


mitchelln said...

I'm worried now. I left a slightly negative comment in a guest book at a US tourist site.

Am I now banned from the US? Will the Feds track me and bug my hotel room if I decide to visit Florida again?

aekayser said...

The short answer: YES!
It is also known that you have left certain negative comments on a particular forum that is followed in high places! So watch out buddy.