The New York Times reports today that the FBI has instituted a newly expanded program in which their agents spy, often covertly, on American people and groups who are suspected of no crime whatsoever. Rather, people are targeted by the FBI for surveillance on the basis of their political opinions, their religion, and/or their race. But the FBI insists that we not call it “spying,” because the idea that our government spies on us will upset us, and the dears at the FBI don’t want us to be upset. As FBI General Counsel Valerie Caproni put it after admitting the existence of this program:
I don’t like to think of us as a spy agency because that makes me really nervous. We don’t want to live in an environment where people in the United States think the government is spying on them. That’s an oppressive environment to live in and we don’t want to live that way.
If the FBI wants to spy on innocent people on the basis of their political opinions or religion or race, but they don’t want Americans to think of it as a “spying” program, then let’s be upfront: they’re going to need all the public relations help they can get.
The key thing, I think we all can agree from recent history, is for the FBI not-spying spying program to have a really distracting name. There was the USA Patriot Act, for instance — a great way of selling the gutting of the Bill of Rights. There was the Clear Skies Act to reduce pollution caps. And then there was the Terrorist Surveillance Program the National Security Agency used to record and share the phone sex talk American soldiers overseas had with their spouses back home.
We need something like that to describe the FBI’s un-warranted spying without suspicion program here in the USA. It needs a catchy name to help keep us from thinking that the spying program is actually a spying program.
We here at Irregular Times are such good government-supporting patriots that we’re holding a contest to help name this newly-expanded FBI surveillance program. Here’s the rules:
1. Suggest a new name for the FBI Domestic Not-Spying Spying Program by adding a comment to this post. Submission deadline: Tuesday November 3rd at 9 AM.
2. After all the suggestions for the FBI Not-Spying Spying Program’s new name have come in, we’ll start up an online poll so that people can vote for their favorite.
3. The person who makes the new-name suggestion getting the most votes will win this design on a sturdy metal pinback button. We will ship this 4th Amendment button for free (no shipping charges, no handling charges, no data mining charges) to any address in the United States whatsoever. We’ll send it to you. We’ll send it to your brother. We’ll send it to Aunt Gertie in Wichita. We’ll send it to your Representative or Senator for you. We’ll send it to the President if you like.
I’m going to put only one-name off limits for your submission, and that’s because I’ve thought of it already:
The Fluffy Bunny Protection Program.
Got a better idea for the FBI’s newly expanded surveillance program? Share it in the comments. Even though we’re all on the losing end of the FBI’s Not-Spying program, you still could be a winnah!