Misplaced Priorities

Last week, the Department of Homeland Security seized several dozen domain names, shutting down web sites they said facilitated copyright infringement. They did this through their Immigration and Customs Enforcement division, without bothering to notify the owners — they just up and took the sites, replacing the prior content with a notice saying, in effect, “we’re from the government, and we own your ass.”

This raises some very, very troubling questions. The first is, why the hell is “copyright infringement” or “counterfeiting goods” a matter of Homeland Security and/or Immigration and Customs? The second is, why was it so goddamned important that these domains were taken without notice (“hey, guys, you’re helping break the law — cut it out!”)? The third is, why the hell is “copyright infringement” or “counterfeiting goods” a matter of Homeland Security and/or Immigration and Customs?

You might notice that the first and third points bear a certain similarity. That is because it is that important a question.

This is the part where the professional left will bring up that the Department of Homeland Security was created under President Bush, as was the rebranding of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service into Immigration and Customs Enforcement, so this kind of overreach has to be his fault.

This requires a leap of logic — to overlook that DHS and ICE have been under the command of Barack Obama for almost two years now. Further, he hand-picked both Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and ICE Director John T. Morton. This action is solely in their laps.

But there’s one more question that I have about this matter. If internet issues are a concern to DHS and ICE, then why the hell aren’t they going after WikiLeaks, whose latest planned release of classified documents actually will directly threaten the United States’ security and interests? They are actually waging a war of espionage against the United States, seriously impairing our international relations and our efforts to fight terrorism, and the best the Obama administration does is whine about it? If we have this army of cybercops who are out there fighting music pirates, that says to me that they have more than enough free time to go after WikiLeaks and the cyber-jihadis that web sites like The Jawa Report are fighting?

I was never overly comfortable with the consolidation of national security within the DHS, because while I saw the dangers, I also saw the potential dangers of all that power concentrated in one area. I could foresee a future administration misusing that power under one roof, and now I see that if anything, I underestimated it. One cabinet secretary — Janet Napolitano, the former governor of Arizona who couldn’t even manage her own state’s border security — is personally responsible for both the above AND the Transportation Security Administration, which has now imposed the “let us either see you naked or feel you up” rule for air travelers and wants to expand that to other forms of public transportation.

This is intolerable. This is unacceptable. We need to put an end to this, and now. Get the DHS and its subsidiaries to actually focus on matters of actual homeland security, and stop using the “national security” umbrella to harass and molest other Americans.

And if they don’t… well, I can see 2012 from my house. And it’s getting closer every day.

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