Operation TIPS wrong way to make nation more secure place

Posted: Thursday, July 25, 2002

It was a bad idea from the start. And thanks to the U.S. Postal Service official rejection of Operation TIPS, the Homeland Security Official program will hopefully get some much-needed revamping.

Here's how the government program is apparently supposed to work: people with jobs that put them in others' homes, neighborhoods, on the highways and in other businesses are asked to report suspicious activity to the government. So, the cable guy at your house could be checking out things and reporting anything he thinks is amiss.

The Justice Department had to know this would not go over well with the public, let alone the slew of liabilities it could bring. It creates an unfortunate situation for everyone, especially those hard-working people just trying to deliver the mail or packages or get through the workday. What if their ''spying'' put them in a dangerous situation? Would they be compensated for this extra work? How would it impact their jobs? So much for customer service. The impact on businesses likely would be negative. ...

The Justice Department should focus its coordination and communication efforts on making sure all law enforcement agencies are working together to sort information. Homeland security will be most successful if the people paid to protect us know what's going on in their towns and across the country.

-- The Herald, Everett, Wash.

July 22



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