United States Of Lamerica
July 04, 2008, 04:25 AM
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Excuse me, but what's the date today?

July 3rd.

Okay. Uh, what year is it?

2008.

So, 9/11 was like six years and eight, almost nine months ago, right?

So, why are we reading articles like the following today, rather than, say, six and a half years ago? Was Homeland Security too busy hassling octogenarian retired Marine Corps generals on their way to give a speech at West Point when their Congressional Medals of Honor set off the metal detector?

The AP reports:

Proposed Justice Dept. rules would allow FBI profiling

<!— if(requestedWidth &gt; 0){ document.getElementById('articleViewerGroup').style.width = requestedWidth + "px"; document.getElementById('articleViewerGroup').style.margin = "0px 0px 10px 10px"; } // —>WASHINGTON (AP)- The Justice Department is considering letting the FBI investigate Americans without any evidence of wrongdoing, relying instead on a terrorist profile that could single out Muslims, Arabs or other racial and ethnic groups.

Law enforcement officials say the proposed policy would help them do exactly what Congress demanded after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks: root out terrorists before they strike.

Although President Bush has disavowed targeting suspects based on their race or ethnicity, the new rules would allow the FBI to consider those factors among a number of traits that could trigger a national security investigation.

Currently, FBI agents need specific reasons - like evidence or allegations that a law probably has been violated - to investigate U.S. citizens and legal residents. The new policy, law enforcement officials told The Associated Press, would let agents open preliminary terrorism investigations after mining public records and intelligence to build a profile of traits that, taken together, were deemed suspicious.

Among the factors that could make someone subject of an investigation is travel to regions of the world known for terrorist activity, access to weapons or military training, along with the person's race or ethnicity.

More than a half-dozen senior FBI, Justice Department and other U.S. intelligence officials familiar with the new policy agreed to discuss it only on condition of anonymity, either because they were not allowed to speak publicly or because the change is not yet final.

The change, which is expected later this summer, is part of an update of Justice Department policies known as the attorney general guidelines. They are being overhauled amid the FBI's transition from a traditional crime-fighting agency to one whose top mission is to protect America from terrorist attacks.

"We don't know what we don't know. And the object is to cut down on that," said one FBI official who defended the plans.

Another official, while also defending the proposed guidelines, raised concerns about criticism during the presidential election year over what he called "the P word" - profiling. ...

The changes would allow FBI agents to ask open-ended questions about activities of Muslim- or Arab-Americans, or investigate them if their jobs and backgrounds match trends that analysts deem suspect. ...

Racial profiling generally is considered a civil rights violation, and former Attorney General John Ashcroft condemned it in March 2001 as an "unconstitutional deprivation of equal protection under our Constitution."

President Bush also has condemned racial profiling as "wrong in America" and in a December 2001 interview had harsh words for an airline that refused to let one of his Secret Service agents board a commercial flight. The agent was Arab-American.

Of course, on 9/11/2008, the Bush Administration was actively working to loosen security on Arab airplane passengers, such as, Mohammed Atta, by cracking down on airport profiling. But, that's disappeared down the memory hole.

Is America just terminally lame? It's been 80 months and the government is now kicking around the idea of profiling? The Ottoman bureaucracy was more on the ball in the 1880s.