At a Politico breakfast at the Newseum on Tuesday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano took her critics to task.
"Big Sis" insisted that the likes of Matt Drudge have been wrong to focus attention on the gradual destruction of civil liberties and privacy in this country since the Sept. 11 jihadist attacks on America.
An Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey also released Tuesday suggested, on the surface, that Americans might be buying into the various Big Government schemes peddled as a response to terrorism. A plurality of 47 percent had no problem with forcing people to carry a national ID card. More than 70 percent supported the 24/7 use of federal surveillance cameras to track and record every movement of people and their vehicles.
Ms. Napolitano likely took comfort in knowing 58 percent of respondents backed electronic strip searches and the groping of private parts as a precondition for boarding airplanes. Surprisingly, when the question of using the same measures was applied to buses, trolleys and other forms of mass transit, the idea lost by a 6 percent margin. Perhaps that's because 44 percent of those participating in the survey identified themselves as "not employed." About 69 percent hadn't taken more than a single trip by airplane this year, suggesting that what happens at the airports was of less direct concern for them.
Those looking to aggrandize the all-powerful leviathan state have been relying upon such parochial impulses to expand their agenda. Some forces on the left and even the right have exploited the fear of a possible attack to chip away traditional American values of independence and drive them into the welcoming arms of a nanny state. Their schemes purport to bargain away a little freedom for a bit of safety. That is always a bad deal.
As we near the 10th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, it's worth noting that the Transportation Security Administration has yet to catch a single terrorist. We've allowed countless women, young children and men to be sexually assaulted by blue-gloved thugs, with nothing to show for our loss of freedom. What the Drudge Report has done is keep millions of readers up to speed on a fact Big Sis would rather you forget: Our government frequently does more damage to our way of life than any terrorists could ever hope to do.
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By Douglas Holtz-Eakin
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