The Bush administration next month is set to test a little-known program that will recruit one in 24 U.S. citizens as domestic spies.
The Terrorism Information and Prevention System, also known as Operation TIPS, will rely on truckers, letter carriers, train conductors, utility employees, and other workers whose jobs allow them access to private homes.
About one million workers will kick off the pilot project in August in ten cities nationwide as part of President Bush’s Citizen Corps volunteer program. Participants can report suspicious activity to a toll-free hotline that will record information into a database available to the Justice Department and local and state officials.
But Justice Department officials have released few details of the program, prompting criticism from both conservatives and civil libertarian groups who say the use of well-meaning citizens to search homes without warrants is reminiscent of George Orwell’s "1984."
- Jim Redden, author of "Snitch Culture".