WH: We're not collecting names, we're storing your e-mail addresses

Robert Gibbs assured Jake Tapper that the new White House initiative to get people to snitch on their neighbors for dissenting on ObamaCare had nothing to do with collecting names.  Oh, no — that would not be Hope and Change!  Instead, it has everything to do with collecting our e-mails:

Asked about Cornyn’s letter on Thursday afternoon, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said, “nobody is collecting names.”

The blog and tips email was because, Gibbs said, “we have seen, and as I’ve discussed from this podium, a lot of misinformation around health care reform. Some of it I think spread purposely. We have used on many occasions the Web site to debunk things that are simply not true. We ask people if they have questions about health care reform and about what they’re hearing about its affects on them, to let us know and we’d provide them information to show that that wasn’t true.”

Continued Gibbs: “but nobody is collecting names.”

But …

When asked, Gibbs acknowledged that the White House is required by law to save all correspondence it receives.

“Obviously, the National Archives documents correspondence with the White House,” he said.

That’s besides the point, for the most part.  They didn’t set up a White House e-mail address and an infrastructure to review the traffic it receives in order to just give the National Archives even more work to do.  The National Archives does not require a stimulus package.

The administration clearly wants to activate millions of snoops across America to get tips on what people say about Obama and his health-care plan.  One can parse whether that amounts literally to “taking names,” but its design explicitly demonstrates a desire for the White House to track its political opposition.  If all Obama wanted was a chance to respond to the debate, it could keep its own tabs on arguments made on Capitol Hill during the Congressional actions on ObamaCare bills.  They can also easily keep an eye on lobbying groups and their public campaigns without creating a vast network of snitches to do it.

Gibbs’ answer is disingenuous.  The better question is why the White House created its snitch line in the first place.

Update: The boss has more on the people who run Snitch Center at the White House.