By Neil W. McCabe
Forty years after Watergate, a scandal about a president’s men breaking into and bugging opposition, often under the cover of a national security imperative, Americans in opposition to the country’s current trend lines are still subject to political surveillance.
The latest example of President Barack Obama’s administration stop-and-frisk attitude is aimed towards the Internet.
The organization that is the national support and logistics hub for the Tea Party announced Oct. 30 that its website has been repeatedly cased by several federal agencies, including the executive office of the White House, the Department of Homeland Security and the Internal Revenue Service.
FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe said, “After the flurry of scandals and abuses coming out of the intelligence collection agencies of the federal government this year, it’s curious that the DHS would frequent the FreedomWorks website.”
The website visits by government agencies were discovered during a routine internal audit of FreedomWorks.org over the last two years. The federal bureaucrats and agents spent most of their time reading blog entries and staff biographies.
While the number of visits is dwarfed by FreedomWorks.org actual traffic from its six million activist members, the DHS visited the site more than 1,560 times, averaging just over twice a day.
While the IRS only visited the site less than 250 times, it is the very agency at the core of the administration’s targeting of Tea Party groups with abusive scrutiny and slow-walking of non-profit status applications.
Unless there are secret Tea Party activists buried inside the IRS, it would follow that these visits were part of the agency’s investigation of applications.
Unthinkable just a year ago, would it surprise anyone that these visits were reconnaissance for the deep dive inside the emails servers and other digital compartments where we are now told we should have no expectation of privacy.
The Department of Justice visited the site 769 times, the Social Security Administration 812 times and the White House checked in on FreedomWorks.org 235 times averaging 20 minutes a visit.
Now the White House staff poking around makes sense to me—after all, FreedomWorks has been giving the administration hissy fits for three years.
But what is the deal with Social Security hacks playing cyber-cav-scout?
Kibbe said he wants answers to specific questions.
- Why was the Department of Homeland Security visiting the FreedomWorks website? Are they visiting the websites of other grassroots groups?”
- What information did the Department of Homeland Security collect from the FreedomWorks website, and what does it intend to do with this information?
- Does FreedomWorks have a file with the Department of Homeland Security? Does the current administration consider FreedomWorks a threat to homeland security?
- Is the Department of Homeland Security sharing information on FreedomWorks with other government agencies?
When the books are written about the Age of Obama, we will finally hear the fear and paranoia that reigned behind drawn curtains.
We have no idea what is going on inside, our only clue is to watch how the administration acts, based on what they know is a problem, but we do not.
Even though the mainstream media ignores the Tea Party and conservative voices, Team Obama is scared and without answers for the questions about its policies the Right raises.
Methinks Kibbe will never get answers for his questions. But, really the behavior he is asking about is the answer to the bigger question. If FreedomWorks and FreedomWorks.org had no impact, they would be ignored—the real answer is to keeping hitting them hard.