Rove’s suspect reliability on privacy rights

ROVE’S SUSPECT RELIABILITY ON PRIVACY RIGHTS…. Fox News personality Karl Rove chatted with Greta Van Susteren last night about Wall Street reform, which he’s apparently skeptical of.

In fact, the former Bush/Cheney aide appears to have some creative concerns that haven’t exactly been at the heart of the larger legislative debate. (thanks to reader C.G. for the heads-up)

“This [bill] is stuffed with a lot of things that are going to — that are going to become apparent over time that are going to be problems for Democrats. You may not know about this. It creates a new office and gives it a half a billion dollars a year and a huge start-up for computer systems in order to monitor every financial transaction in the United States and to use that data to arrive at policy recommendations about sensible regulation.

“So they’re literally going to have the capacity to go through everybody’s brokerage account and everybody’s checking account and everybody’s credit card and everybody’s financial transactions and collect — sweep that information and then analyze it.”

Rove added that he’s concerned about “empowering an agency” of the government to “peer into” Americans’ personal accounts “in order to do with it whatever they want to do.”

As a substantive matter, I haven’t the foggiest idea what Rove is complaining about, but since this isn’t even a concern raised by congressional Republicans — who’ve been fabricating talking points as they go along — I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that Rove’s claim isn’t an especially credible one. If he has evidence to back this up, I’m all ears.

But let’s also note the irony — Karl Rove is complaining about big government invading Americans’ privacy. If memory serves, it was Rove’s team that not only embraced and shaped the Patriot Act, but also created a system of warrantless wiretaps with no oversight or accountability.

If there are legitimate concerns about personal privacy and monitoring of financial transactions, let’s hear them. But given Karl Rove’s track record, and his general disregard for reality, perhaps he’s not the best spokesperson to be raising these questions.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.