One way the government persecutes its perceived enemies is to spy on them and then use the data against them in court or in some other government way. But another favorite method is to use the information by giving it to another group so that group can target the enemies of the state and hurt them in some way. One way that juries were encouraged to make “the right decision” at the trials was to make them public so that the mob could see them and intimidate them. Jurors knew that voting the wrong way would mean that they would never reach home alive.
The IRS, in addition to harassing conservative groups itself, also practices this strategy. Conservative groups can have their membership lists exposed to radical organizations who can then target them in various ways.
And the EPA does the same thing to farmers—and it does it openly as if it were totally legal.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives is determined to make sure the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not disclose private information of U.S. farmers and ranchers as it did in early 2013. Congressman Rick Crawford (R-Ark.), joined by Representatives Jim Costa (D-Calif.), Lee Terry (R-Neb.) and Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.), introduced the Farmer Identity Protection Act that would prohibit EPA from releasing agricultural producers’ private information into the public domain.
In 2012, EPA proposed a rule under the Clean Water Act that would have resulted in the agency gathering private information of livestock producers and making it publicly available and searchable through its website. USDA, the Department of Homeland Security, lawmakers in both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, and agricultural organizations raised concern that the proposal was not only an overreach of EPA’s authority but also would make it easier for activist organizations to target farming and ranching operations and could potentially threaten the safety and security of the nation’s food supply.
While EPA ultimately withdrew the proposal, the agency still collected private information of more than 80,000 livestock operations in 30 states through state environmental agencies and released it through Freedom of Information Act requests. Information, including name, address, phone number and even GPS coordinates of agricultural operations, was disclosed to Earth Justice, the Pew Charitable Trust and the Natural Resources Defense Council. Congressman Crawford recently called this an egregious breach of privacy.
I don’t understand calling this a breach of privacy and then writing a bill to make a new law. This was an intentional criminal act on the part of the EPA. Someone should have been arrested for this. They were not authorized to give private information to Earth Justice so no other law should be necessary.
I am in favor of the law, but until someone gets punished hard these power grabs will continue.
This procedure means we are doomed: 1) Bureaucrat takes unauthorized action to hurt people and violate their rights; 2) Congress pretends that this is an unexplored area that must be defined by law; 3) Maybe law is passed disallowing the action that was never authorized in the first place; 3/1) Bureaucrat takes new unauthorized action… etc.
This is why, in the conflict between the Senate and the CIA, I am confident that the executive branch always wins. The legislators don’t realize that they are in real danger.