Federal law enforcement agencies have been tracking Americans in real-time using credit cards, loyalty cards and travel reservations without getting a court order, a new document released under a government sunshine request shows.Unsurprisingly, Democratic and Republican leaders of the ruling criminal-political class do not appear to be especially perturbed by this news, as they are the primary architects of the policies that have eviscerated the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. At Outside the Beltway, Doug Mataconis comments:
The document, obtained by security researcher Christopher Soghoian, explains how so-called “Hotwatch” orders allow for real-time tracking of individuals in a criminal investigation via credit card companies, rental car agencies, calling cards, and even grocery store loyalty programs. The revelation sheds a little more light on the Justice Department’s increasing power and willingness to surveil Americans with little to no judicial or Congressional oversight. . . .
the Justice Department does not report or make public the number of times it got real time or historic cell phone location information, nor how often it is using these so-called “hotwatch” orders.
All of this is an outgrowth of the broad surveillance powers given to Federal law enforcement after 9/11 and as part of the “war on drugs,” and it stands as evidence to support the argument that once such powers are granted, they will be used for more than just tracking down national security threats.Classical Values states the obvious:
Update: In related news, the Washington Post reports:
The federal government has repeatedly violated legal limits governing the surveillance of U.S. citizens, according to previously secret internal documents obtained through a court battle by the American Civil Liberties Union.The national security police state apparatus that has been erected by Democratic-Republican party policy consensus is a threat to individual rights, civil liberties and the very existence of constitutional, democratic, republican government in the United States.
In releasing 900 pages of documents, U.S. government agencies refused to say how many Americans' telephone, e-mail or other communications have been intercepted under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act - or FISA - Amendments Act of 2008, or to discuss any specific abuses, the ACLU said. Most of the documents were heavily redacted.