The Bush Administration is seeking to train firefighters to serve as eyes and ears in the war on terror: a role that raises significant civil liberties questions. Under this plan, firefighters would look for evidence of possible terrorism in the homes and businesses that they inspect or enter. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has obviously realized that fire fighters routinely enter homes without a warrant under existing constitutional doctrines. This represents a great opportunity for police to circumvent fourth amendment standards and to use firefighters like roaming surveillance devices.It is a role that could put fire fighters are greater risk if they are viewed as threats or law enforcement personnel. It could also reduce the willingness of some people to call the fire department.Firefighters have always been able to use the “plain view” doctrine in reporting or even seizing evidence of a crime. Thus, even if they did not enter with a warrant, any evidence of a crime in plain view can be reported or seized. The problem is that the Supreme Court allows inspectors to enter homes for routine administrative functions without a warrant. Now, they are being trained to use the opportunity to perform a law enforcement function.The other issue is the expansion of deputized citizens who serve as surveillance assets for the government. Previously, the Bush Administration sought to use truck drivers, postal employees and others for this function. The danger is a nation where citizens are trained to spy on each other; converting the country into a fishbowl society.For the full article, click here
7 thoughts on “Homeland Security to Use Firefighters to Spot Potential Terror Suspects”
As a former Dallas Firefighter/Paramedic, I have been in thousands of homes in my twenty year career. Each time I entered a residence,whether for medical reasons or fire related, I had authority that the average person was not aware of.I had authority over the property as well as the person or persons on that property for the time that it took to clear the situation at hand. Though there were situations that, that time was extended. If ever this authority is misused or abused the role of ALL emergency personnel will be altered to the endangerment of everyone. Firefighters and those we serve (you the public) will become fearful of each other. My job was to aid and help those I serve,even to the extent of sacrificing my life for yours if necessary. I and others like me, are not police and should never be asked or required to act as such. I have served in the worst parts of Dallas and never once had to resort to such measures nor would I if requested. I have observed the actions of “Homeland Security”, and it is my opinion that Hitler and Stalin would be proud of them.
I wasn’t sure where to place this article, but tasking parents with ‘policing’ their own children, presumably without the benefit of legal advice, in this way, seems over the line.
Great quotes from both great Americans.
“I am…a mortal Enemy to arbitrary Government & unlimited Power. I am naturally very jealous for the Rights and Liberties of my Country; & the least appearance of an Incroachment on those invaluable Priviledges, is apt to make my Blood boil exceedingly.”
-Ben Franklin (in drag)
“What he said.”
-Me (as a general rule when quoting Franklin on government)
Call me a sentimentalist, but I don’t particularly enjoy seeing end-runs around the Fourth Amendment, especially when those end-runs involve tasking non-law enforcement government personnel with obvious law enforcement assignments.
In medical science, the human body routinely receives faulty signals
-some in the form of damaging auto-immune responses to acute or chronic inflammatory conditions.
The treatments often have unwanted side-effects and the costs continue to climb astronomically.
Certainly, it is counter-intuitive to the well-being and survival of our democracy to induce an analogous self-destruction and foolish to call it honoring (the oath to uphold) the Constitution.
Power, even absolute power, is ineffective without information. No use being a titan in strength if you cannot see where to direct your force.
That is why governments are speeding relentlessly to acquisition of as much info gathering, “total information awareness”, as they can.
With the waning of the power of armies and the rise of cancer-like insurgencies distributed through the population as a whole, governments have learned they need the equivalent of a biological immune system, one that can discriminate between self and non-self, friend and foe.
To do that down to the house by house level, they require information on all of us; everything that can be recorded.
[The next Amendment to the Constitution may have something to do with the proper form of algorithms used to flag notable items from this flood of information.]
I consider the battle to preserve privacy as essentially lost at this point. We can only struggle to negotiate the terms of surrender.
Cool! Bring it on!
Another lucrative market has been created for the soon to be available
Home Testosterone Surveillance-induced Poisoning Antidote (HTSPA) Kit.
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