Language tucked inside the Homeland Security bill will allow the federal government to track the e-mail, Internet use, travel, credit-card purchases, phone and bank records of foreigners and U.S. citizens in its hunt for terrorists.
In what one critic has called "a supersnoop's dream," the Defense Department's Total Information Awareness program would be authorized to collect every type of available public and private data in what the Pentagon describes as one "centralized grand database."
Computers and analysts are supposed to use all this available information to determine patterns of people's behavior in order to detect and identify terrorists, decipher plans and enable the United States to pre-empt terrorist acts.
The project first appeared in the Senate Democratic proposal for the new Homeland Security Department, which was defeated Wednesday in a 50-47 vote. However it was included in...