Is the White House promoting snitching on your neighbors if they don’t support the President’s plan for health care reform?
Certainly people should report criminal activity if they see people commit such acts. But should people snitch on others who are exercising their First Amendment freedom of speech rights, by expressing their doubts and concerns about President Obama’s plans for a government health care plan? On the WhiteHouse.gov blog site, there is this call to report on “fishy” activities by your neighbors and associates:
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) has sent a letter today to President Obama asking him to explain the purpose and intended uses of whatever names and reports they receive.
Cornyn has raised some very real concerns:
“I am not aware of any precedent for a President asking American citizens to report their fellow citizens to the White House for pure political speech that is deemed ‘fishy’ or otherwise inimical to the White House’s political interests.
“By requesting that citizens send ‘fishy’ emails to the White House, it is inevitable that the names, email addresses, IP addresses, and private speech of U.S. citizens will be reported to the White House. You should not be surprised that these actions taken by your White House staff raise the specter of a data collection program. As Congress debates health care reform and other critical policy matters, citizen engagement must not be chilled by fear of government monitoring the exercise of free speech rights.”
Here is the full text of Cornyn’s letter to President Obama.