Thursday, August 06, 2009

Is the White House building an "Enemies List"?

GOP Senator: White House Encroaching on First Amendment - The Note

Yesterday, White House director of new media Macon Phillips wrote a blog posting urging readers to flag questionable claims about health care proposals.

"There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to"
-ABC News

To: The White House,

Subject: Is the White House assembling an "ENEMIES LIST"?


I call upon President Obama to shut down this surveillance program in which citizens are asked to report directly to the White House ( when they encounter private communication critical of the president's proposals and policies. Such a program, if it does not directly abridge the right to free expression, at least undermines and threatens this right, because it raises a legitimate concern that one's exercise of free speech, rightly or wrongly interpreted, may result in being counted a member of a government "enemies list", a target for harassment and retaliation.

Even if there is no intention to assemble such a list, the program reasonably can be perceived as a heavy-handed effort to stifle political opposition and intimidate those critical of the government. Is this really the image that President Obama wants to cultivate?

The president should shut down this citizen surveillance program immediately.

John F. Robin
(address and phone number provided)

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