United States Government Expands Record Keeping Powers

Being a little jealous of how quickly France is moving towards fascism the United States government has made a move to further expand its own police state:

The U.S. intelligence community will be able to store information about Americans with no ties to terrorism for up to five years under new Obama administration guidelines.

Until now, the National Counterterrorism Center had to destroy immediately information about Americans that already was stored in other government databases when there were no clear ties to terrorism.

Giving the NCTC expanded record-retention authority had been urged by members of Congress, who said the intelligence community did not connect strands of intelligence held by multiple agencies leading up to a failed bombing attempt on a U.S.-bound airliner on Christmas 2009.

The part that really galls me is that Congress is using a failed bombing attempt as justification for this regulatory change. If the bombing attempt failed then everything worked as planned. As Bruce Schneier pointed out the attempted bombing was an example of where airport security actually did its job:

With all the talk about the failure of airport security to detect the PETN that the Christmas bomber sewed into his underwear — and to think I’ve been using the phrase “underwear bomber” as a joke all these years — people forget that airport security played an important role in foiling the plot.

In order to get through airport security, Abdulmutallab — or, more precisely, whoever built the bomb — had to construct a far less reliable bomb than he would have otherwise; he had to resort to a much more ineffective detonation mechanism. And, as we’ve learned, detonating PETN is actually very hard.

Now, almost a year and a half later, Congress is using the failed bombing attempt to justify an expansion of state power and nobody is even raising an eyebrow. You would think somebody would say, “Hey Congress, the attempted bombing on Christmas of 2009 failed. Shouldn’t you use a bombing attempt that succeeded to justify your power grab?”