General John Ashcroft told legislators July 25 the Terrorism Information
and Prevention System (TIPS) will be ``a clearinghouse for people
who think they see something'' suspicious, and not a government
database to be used against Americans.
of American truckers, train conductors, ship captains, utility
employees, letter carriers and others would use the TIPS as a
"national system for reporting suspicious, and potentially
terrorist-related activity," according to the TIPS web site
are crucial because ``they are regularly in the public,'' Ashcroft
said. ``They can spot anomalies - things that are different -
(such as) truckdrivers seeing things happen that don't usually
the program has caused controversy from Republican and Democratic
legislators, civil liberties groups and others who think the effort
goes too far.
the Homeland Security Department legislation includes language
that would prohibit programs such as operation TIPS within the
new department. And the U.S. Postal Service said it would not
participate in the current version under development by the Justice
set to begin in August with 1 million volunteers recruited in
10 cities. It is a part of the Citizen Corps, an initiative announced
by President Bush in his State of the Union address, and is designed
to enable the public to participate directly in homeland security.