Senators Wyden and Smith should oppose provisions of Homeland SecurityFor a nation that was founded on the bedrock of freedom and liberty, it is curious that America's leaders continue to seek secrecy and domestic espionage. As William Safire noted on this page Thursday, the Homeland Security Act contains a mechanism that would allow the Pentagon to know everything about each one of us.

There is a joke whose punchline is that you can't be a little bit pregnant. The same is true about losing freedom and liberty. A people who are subject to constant surveillance are not a free people. But that's what the Bush administration has in mind. Safire reported that the Defense Department des-cribes the proposed scheme as "a virtual, centralized grand database."

The Homeland Security Act would also exempt various federal agencies from public disclosure rules. In other words, we would have a government that keeps more secrets from us while also prying into our private lives.

Doesn't this have a familiar ring? Didn't the Soviet Union try government secrecy as well as a centralized grand database?

Oregon's senators Ron Wyden and Gordon Smith should support amendments to strip away both of these onerous provisions.

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