Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Missouri Dept. of Public Safety apologizes; will excise names of 3rd Party candidates from militia report

From The Pitch:

Today, Missouri Department of Public Safety Director John Britt sent a letter to the candidates named in the memo [Chuck Baldwin, Ron Paul, and Bob Barr], acknowledging that references to specific political candidates or third party political organizations should not have been made and are unnecessary in the effort to stopping violent extremist groups.

Director Britt states in the letter: "In recognition of the mistaken inclusion of this information by the MIAC in its February 20, 2009 report on the militia movement, I have ordered that the offending report be edited so as to excise all reference to Ron Paul, Bob Barr and Chuck Baldwin and to any third-party political organizations. Additionally, you may rest assured that the report is not posted on any website maintained by the State of Missouri.

"The Missouri Department of Public Safety regrets any inconvenience or issues caused inadvertently by the unnecessary inclusion of certain components by MIAC in its militia report."

Missouri Libertarian Party spokesman Mike Ferguson welcomed the news as a positive development for everyone. "This is a case where the government has responded to the public's objection, reevaluated a controversial practice and responded by addressing the problem."

I give regrests any inconvenience or issues caused inadvertently a "C" on the genuine apology scale, but I give the Missouri Department of Public Safety full marks for recognizing that this issue was not going away.

There are a couple of major take-aways from this controversy:

1) Again the blogosphere forced the MSM to cover a real, serious story that would have otherwise been swept under the rug. The blogs ran with this for at least 48 hours before the major networks acknowledged the story's existence.

2) The controversy has also drawn needed attention to the very real issue of privacy in the operations of law enforcement "fusion centers."

3) Inappropriate allegations aside, the MIAC report on the militia movement illustrates the amateurish nature of at least some of the materials being produced under these fusion centers. If this is the one that got out, how bad are some of the ones we haven't seen?

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