Forcing people to hire attorneys because they tipped authorities to suspicious behavior will keep the next set of people from doing the same -- and that benefits only the terrorists [ . . . ]He says this in the context of supporting "legislation protecting ordinary Americans who report suspicious behavior, regardless of whether their information uncovers a terrorist plot or not."
While there's certainly the potential that somebody could, in good faith, report behavior they deem suspicious to the authorities and wind up sued -- giving a multitude of individuals and organizations an opportunity to put their money where their mouth is and fund the person's defense -- there's something deeply troubling about this reflexive desire to simply bar an entire field of legal action, and especially to do so for the reason Morrissey cites.
First of all: Does anybody doubt that removing the threat of an abuse of process claim will encourage people to "inform" on anybody they want to see suffer? If you bar all such suits, what prevents people from using the FBI to harass others?
Extending that thought, if there's no motivation for people to employ common sense in distinguishing "unusual" (or "Muslim") behavior from "suspicious" behavior, how many more man-hours is the government going to waste sifting through pointless and even malicious dead-end leads provided by people with no lives and no fear of reprisal?
Second, and much more offensive in my opinion, is the suggestion that somebody observing behavior that they actually find suspicious and potentially indicative of a criminal plot is going to choose not to act because they might get sued.
I can't speak for anybody else, but I'd like to think that if somebody has an actual founded suspicion that something's going on that they're not going to worry about getting sued, they're going to worry about trying to notify somebody of the risk.
The premise that people who would otherwise do so are going to decide not to report suspicious behavior because they might wind up having to hire a lawyer is nothing short of incredible. I can certainly imagine that some people out there might not act for any number of reasons, but the suggestion that that will be the deciding factor is absolutely obscene. It suggests a depth of cynicism that shocks even me.
If we really are that self-centered, if we're so far gone as to let an attack happen rather than expose ourself to a potential lawsuit, then what's the fucking point? We're doomed on our own terms, without any help from terrorists.