It is good that someone in the White House now realizes what a chilling and abusive idea it was to request that folks forward e-mails from family and friends that appeared to contain "fishy" arguments against the health care reform ideas coming out of Congress. Senator Cornyn wrote a letter to the President spelling out his disapproval of such an exercise.
Over the weekend, a major publicity snafu was squelched, kinda, after the web site was disabled and the way in which a person corresponds with the White House web site was modified due to questions by Major Garrett of FOX News. Garrett filed a FOIA to get some kind of answer, unavailable from the Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, late last week. During a White House Briefing, Garrett inquired as to the reason some people were receiving unsolicited e-mail from the White House - David Axelrod, to be specific. Gibbs feigned no knowledge of any such spamming going on.
Today, a statement is issued by the "new media" person in the West Wing that claims a nameless third party is responsible for the unwanted e-mail spam.
Senator Cornyn released this statement concerning his objection to the "fishy" information site:
"I'm glad the White House recognizes its own bad idea and has disabled their data collection program. They've finally come to their senses and acknowledged that this is compromising citizens' free speech rights by causing them to be concerned whether complaints will be compiled into some sort of enemies list."
"Questions still remain about information that’s already been collected over the past few weeks. I still would like to know what steps the White House taking to purge all names, email addresses and other personal information they have collected on private citizens as part of their data collection program."
So, the guys who are supposed to be so tech savvy and the ones who preach total transparency at the top of the chain realize that people expect them to mean what they say.