No more benefit of the doubt

Another example why “we the people” simply MUST exercise more scrutiny and accountability of our government.  It is no longer entitled to any confidence based on “you gotta trust us on this secret stuff:”

After seven years of litigation, two trips to a federal appeals court and $3.8 million worth of lawyer time, the public has finally learned why a wheelchair-bound Stanford University scholar was cuffed, detained and denied a flight from San Francisco to Hawaii: FBI human error.

FBI agent Kevin Kelley was investigating Muslims in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2004 when he checked the wrong box on a terrorism form, erroneously placing Rahinah Ibrahim on the no-fly list.

What happened next was the real shame. Instead of admitting to the error, high-ranking President Barack Obama administration officials spent years covering it up. Attorney General Eric Holder, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and a litany of other government officials claimed repeatedly that disclosing the reason Ibrahim was detained, or even acknowledging that she’d been placed on a watch list, would cause serious damage to the U.S. national security. Again and again they asserted the so-called “state secrets privilege” to block the 48-year-old woman’s lawsuit, which sought only to clear her name…

At one point, Judge Alsup dismissed the case. A federal appeals court reinstated it in 2012, more than a year after Alsup tossed it. A month before Ibrahim’s trial, the judge said he learned the Kafkaesque truth. “I feel that I have been had by the government,” he said in a November pretrial conference.

Last week he laid it out all in his final order in the case, ruling for Ibrahim following a five-day, non-jury trial that was conducted largely behind closed doors in December:

“At long last, the government has conceded that plaintiff poses no threat to air safety or national security and should never have been placed on the no-fly list. She got there by human error within the FBI. This too is conceded. This was no minor human error but an error with palpable impact, leading to the humiliation, cuffing, and incarceration of an innocent and incapacitated air traveler. That it was human error may seem hard to accept — the FBI agent filled out the nomination form in a way exactly opposite from the instructions on the form, a bureaucratic analogy to a surgeon amputating the wrong digit — human error, yes, but of considerable consequence. (.pdf)”

Time and again we’ve seen what happens when government is allowed to operate within a large veil of secrecy: abuse, coverup, and disregard for Constitutional restrictions on their powers. The only way to reverse this is to dismantle the National Security State that has grown like a cancer on this society. I concede there are legitimate secrets that governments must maintain while executing their legitimate functions to defend the nation. We no longer have any reason to believe our government will exercise such prerogatives in OUR interests, versus theirs. Thus the only response open to us is to minimize the need for any secrecy. Stop foreign interventionism. Bring the troops home. Secure the borders. Then conduct the people’s business in the full scrutiny of daylight.  Anything less is unworthy of the legacy that was bequeathed to us, and which we are so close to selling out for nothing.

When such deception as the above is revealed, the parties responsible should be removed from office and barred from ever working again in a public capacity.  I’m looking at you, Eric Holder and James Clapper.  A court has now determined that both of you made FALSE statements that materially damaged the ability of an innocent traveler to clear their name.  That means neither of you are worthy to hold any authority or to draw another paycheck paid for by US tax dollars.

As for you, America — until and unless you demand such accountability, you can count on this government to become even more corrupt and oppressive than it already is.  Speak now, or go silently the way of most nations in human history.

 

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