TIPS tanks in House

| 7/23/2002

House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX), in his markup of legislation to create a Homeland Security Department, has rejected a program that would use volunteer truckers, utility workers, letter carriers and others in domestic surveillance.

The Terrorism Information and Prevention System (TIPS) was to begin in August with 1 million volunteers recruited in 10 cities. However, the U.S. Postal Service declined to take part in the program and civil liberties groups complained about privacy issues.

"Mr. Armey believes there are other and better ways to involve citizens in the protection of the homeland," said Richard Diamond, the congressman's press secretary. "There are traditional ways of pitching in, helping out, like becoming a volunteer firefighter."

Armey also banned the idea of national identity cards, leaving driver's licensing in the hands of the states.