How have the events of 9/11 and the legislation that followed affected personal freedoms – including access to private financial transactions?
Announcer: How have the events of 9/11 and the legislation that followed affected personal freedoms--including access to private financial transactions?
Robert Wiedemer: There's no question that 9/11... it changed America's thinking towards monitoring conversations and so forth. Don't get me wrong, this has happened before, we've always had this in a national security perspective. In World War II, of course, the government had to keep a track of things. It's just that now, they have the ability to do even more and yeah there's no question that the government has to monitor what's going on, I guess, from a foreign policy, from a nation security stand point.
The question is...when does...again...It's like putting the keys in the ignition of a car, when does it maybe...go a bit overboard? That's the discussions we're having right now... is that maybe the government uses it not just for national security reasons, but maybe for other reasons--It's abuse of power. This is something that any government faces. If you go back to our founding fathers, one of the reasons they were worried about having a big battle of government was abuse of power. And there's no question that this has happened in the past, it can happen again. The tools are there. It's not that there isn't a reason for it, fundamentally, and that we have a national security issue, but can there be an abuse of what is legitimate use of power and the not so legitimate. So, these are issues that I think we'll be struggling with for awhile. The difference is just that they're going to get bigger, because of technology and technologies changing so that it's easier to monitor, and it's easier to maybe abuse that power that probably should have kept just to national security alone and not go over, but admittedly, sometimes that's hard to tell the difference. So, hence, I think the government will err towards the side of monitoring more, not less.