March 13, 2010
Obama has come out in favor of forcing people arrested to submit DNA to a national database.
“President Barack Obama’s embrace of a national database to store the DNA of people arrested but not necessarily convicted of a crime is heartening to backers of the policy but disappointing to criminal-justice reformers, who view it as an invasion of privacy,” reports Politico. “Others also worry the practice would adversely affect minorities.”
It would affect all Americans regardless of race, creed, color, nationality, etc. It would also be a violation of the Fourth Amendment.
Obama made his opinion known during an interview with John Walsh, the host of the TV show America’s Most Wanted. Walsh is known for his anti-crime activism, which he became involved with following the murder of his son in 1981 (see video below).
“We have 18 states who are taking DNA upon arrest,” Walsh said. “It’s no different than fingerprinting or a booking photo. … Since those states have been doing it, it has cleared 200 people that are innocent from jail.”
Obama agreed. “It’s the right thing to do,” he replied. “This is where the national registry becomes so important, because what you have is individual states — they may have a database, but if they’re not sharing it with the state next door, you’ve got a guy from Illinois driving over into Indiana, and they’re not talking to each other.”
Obama did not say if he believes a DNA sample should be removed upon acquittal or if charges are dropped.
A national DNA database is another manifestation of the state posing a threat to our liberties. Mr. Walsh may be interested in keeping tabs on sex offenders and criminals, but the state has other motives — the tracking and surveillance of citizens.
A national DNA database would compliment other efforts by the government to violate our liberty. In 2005 it was first revealed that the NSA has been secretly intercepting Americans’ phone calls and Internet communications (in fact, the NSA has intercepted the personal communications of Americans for decades).
In April of 2009, the FBI joined 15 states that collect DNA samples from those awaiting trial. The FBI currently has a DNA database with 6.7 million profiles and plans to accelerate its growth rate from 80,000 new entries a year to 1.2 million by 2012 — a 15-fold increase, according to the New York Times.
Since September 11, 2001, under the guise of a phony war against government manufactured terrorism, the FBI has infiltrated and monitored entirely legal political organizations, including the Tea Party movement.
On October 31, 2001, then Attorney General John Ashcroft issued a regulation that authorized the monitoring of communications between inmates in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons and their attorneys including those who have not been convicted of any crimes.
The Patriot Act nullified large sections of the Bill of Rights. Under the rubric of a global war on terrorism the executive has been granted sweeping unconstitutional authority to issue executive orders and wage war without congressional consent.
In February, the Justice Department argued in federal court that the FBI and other police agencies don’t need to obtain a search warrant to learn the locations of Americans’ cell phones. “When the government acquires historical cell location information, it effectively commandeers our cell phones and turns them into electronic trackers that report, without our knowledge or consent, where we have been and how long we have spent there,” Susan Freiwald, a law professor at the University of San Francisco told Declan McCullagh of CNet.
As reported earlier this week, Sens. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) have proposed legislation that, if passed, will require all working Americans to carry biometric ID cards containing fingerprint records and other personal information. The effort is a cynical attempt to establish a national biometric ID card program under the guise of preventing illegal immigration.
The effort to create a DNA database is already under way in several states. In 2004, Californians overwhelmingly passed a ballot measure requiring DNA testing, usually by a swab inside the cheek, for all felony arrests and some others. And in New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has sought to go even further, proposing DNA tests for everyone arrested in the city, even for misdemeanors.
Criminologist James Fox of Northeastern University in Boston told Politico he would rather see Obama deal with ballistic fingerprinting and repeal of the Tiahrt Amendment, which limits gun tracing.
The the Tiahrt Amendment prohibits the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives from releasing information from its firearms trace database to anyone other than a law enforcement agency or prosecutor in connection with a criminal investigation.