Monday, July 21, 2008

Ticking Time Bomb: Who Were the Spies?

Who in the Maryland executive branch gave the spying orders in 2005-2006? And who are the undercover police officers who worked so diligently to sabotage our First Amendment rights?

I don’t know their identities. But I do know that they are dangerous. Their actions make that abundantly clear. And if this or a future administration decides to resume the sort of undercover spying that is more characteristic of a police state than a free democracy, we have no reason to think these individuals will do anything but once again collaborate.

I assume that most of the people involved in the bureaucracy of the Free State Stasi were simply following orders. But "I was just following orders" is not an excuse. When a government official tells you to break the law, your obligation is to the law, not to that government official.

When government employees follow that principle — when they refuse to carry out the illegal orders of an overreaching executive — they protect citizens from losing the constitutional rights we cherish. Our freedom relies on civil servants’ refusal to break the law.

It scares me to know that our state police has members who were so willing to spy on people and monitor our constitutionally protected political activities. And it scares me to know that they’d do it again.