And the hits keep on coming…

You can take your civil liberties to the bank—but they’ll be data-mined:

Under a secret Bush administration program initiated weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, counterterrorism officials have gained access to financial records from a vast international database and examined banking transactions involving thousands of Americans and others in the United States, according to government and industry officials.
Let me summarize the rest of the article: Government officials say “the program is limited.” The Bush administration claims the program is “a vital tool.” The program is run of the CIA and overseen by the Treasury Department, whose spokesman claims the program “has provided us with a unique and powerful window into the operations of terrorist networks and is, without doubt, a legal and proper use of our authorities.” The program is “grounded in part on the president's emergency economic powers.” The program relied on “broad administrative subpoenas” to get access to “large amounts of confidential data,” and officials “did not seek individual court-approved warrants or subpoenas to examine specific transactions.”

There’s more, but you get the gist.

Spy on Americans without their knowledge and without court orders. Claim it’s legal based on the president’s executive powers. Defend it by saying it’s a vital tool against terrorism. Rinse and repeat ad infinitum.

Ben Franklin famously said, “Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither liberty nor security,” and I think he’s right. Surely, the modern corollary is that when our government sacrifices our liberty in the pursuit of security, we are left with neither, whether we deserve them or not.

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