>Please outline what enforcement powers this department has. Please show us
>the legions of jack booted thugs it employs to do it's bidding.
Sure. Easy. The office of Homeland Security would have access to FBI and
other resources. But more interesting, as per today's New York Times, Homeland
Security head Tom Ridge suggested that one good solution would be to use the
military in this situation. Further, Bush himself has requested a review of
the Posse Comitatas rule, which forbids use of military forces for civilian
arrests. Though Ridge says that these forces "might not be used," it'd be a
good idea to have that power if needed.
>OK - and anonymous calls to the local police can't be used to the same
Nope. Because if you call in a police report, they won't take it in most cases
without your name and address. If it's an anonymous tip, it is, nonetheless,
within the legal system and can be subpoenad and produced as evidence.
Further, if someone files a police report on you, the police generally
investigate and you'll know that the report has been called in.
In the case of TIPS, the information goes into a general database and there's
no way to know what's being gathered on you, and the TIPS program as outlined
is not subject to FOIA, so you might never know you have a file or have access
to it (whereas you can get FBI files on you, albeit censored, via FOIA).
>And by the way, if it *is* abused, there is an EXISTING mechanism to right
>the wrongs, on many levels. First, if you are actually prosecuted, and found
>innocent, you can sue for overzealous prosecution.
Sue who? The government? Do you know for a fact that TIPS is subject to civil
Further...even if we allow that they can, which hasn't been established
here...sure, you could sue, after you've spent years having your reputation
destroyed. A reputation, once hit by suspicion, is hard to rebuild again. And
even if you win, you're looking at another three or more years in court, again
defending your reputation because the defense will make your rep the point of
I don't think the possibility of suing back is in any way the equal to six
years of one's life lost, along with one's reputation. Not to mention the
concurrent fallout on work, family, friends, relationships, career, you name
>Second, you can sue the guy whio tipped. If you actually get into court,
>they have to produce the guy. rule of law...
For starters, see above. Second, as of this point in time, TIPS is *not*
subject to the same rules of evidence as any other agency. Thirdly, all
someone has to do is say the information was given in good faith, that X
happened...it's just in the *way* it was reported that the trouble started.
For instance...somebody subscribes to an Persian newspaper. We note this in
somebody's home. The person also has a farm, and thus access to fertilizer.
Trucker sees this, files the information, and continues to the next delivery.
Now you have a file, and people are going to be looking for anything that might
fit the profile, because you wouldn't HAVE a file if there wasn't something
going on, right?
Or what if it's not a Persian language paper? What if it's another country
altogether, but the trucker made a mistake? You can't sue over something like
And finally, somebody like that doesn't have deep pockets as a rule...so what
do you do, sue for 3 years, spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, to get
People who say "Hey, just sue the guy" have generally never been sued
themselves, or had to sue, so they don't undersstand what's really involved.
>>No government agency
>>should be allowed to strike with impunity;
> Glad you agree. There are several provisions in constitutional law that
>such actions illegal.
Too bad that TIPS, as currently envisioned, has exempted itself from such
provisions or made it difficult to even find out what's going on so that you
could try and bring those provisions into play.
(all message content (c) 2002 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)