New York Republican Peter King has introduced a bill that would protect the army of citizen spies Homeland Security hopes to recruit under Janet Napolitano’s “See Something, Say Something” snoop campaign from lawsuits brought by innocent people wrongly accused of being terrorists or extremists.
“A top US lawmaker unveiled legislation on Wednesday to protect individuals who tip off authorities to potential extremist threats from lawsuits, in the event that they turn out to finger innocents,” reports AFP.
House Homeland Security Chairman King, who is pushing the “See Something, Say Something Act,” wants to shield “good citizens who report suspicious activity” from facing the consequences of misidentifying innocent behavior as extremism or terror.
Of course, this will only encourage untrained people to report any behavior whatsoever, no matter how benign, as potential terrorism, creating an army of enthusiastic but hapless citizen spies.
“King said his bill would extend protections from individuals “who report suspicious activity anywhere,” adds the report, making reference to the DHS’ “See Something, Say Something” campaign, which characterizes paying for things with cash as a suspicious activity.
The program was launched with the aid of Orwellian telescreens at Wal-Mart checkouts that play a message from Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano encouraging Americans to report anything unusual to Wal-Mart managers. The program was subsequently expanded to include 9,000 federal buildings, as well as sports stadiums, businesses and communities in general.