On June 25, I read, with a fair amount of agita, “Maine public safety commissioner admits: Secret police unit gathers information on citizens” (Page A1). Notably: “…He (Commissioner Michael Sauschuck) acknowledged under questioning that the (fusion) center does gather intelligence on citizens, including groups that organize public protests.” Unfortunately, the 250-word limit is neither enough to begin to unpack all that is wrong with that statement nor to place it in historic context with numerous non-democratic, despotic regimes that do the same despicable thing.

Hoping to quell uneasiness, I assume, Sauschuck further commented, “We are not spying on people. This is public information that is readily available.”

The following are the top two definitions of “intelligence” from Google: 1) “the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills”; 2) “the collection of information of military or political value.”

The first seems benign, the second sinister and at odds with the commissioner’s feign of innocent intent by suggesting that his gathering of public information is not “intelligence” until after it is collected and curated by said secret unit. I’d add the definition of spying, but I suspect, like pornography, I’m pretty sure “we all know it when we see it.”

Since this information is acknowledged as public, readily available and gathered by taxpayer dollars, I look forward to its release to the subjects, the public, for immediate review as well as its deletion from police data banks. If it’s that public and readily available, the good folks at the fusion center can just Google it when they need it again!

Mike DelTergo


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