Patriot Act II -- What do you think about it?:
ABC News Story:
|Patriot Act Redux
Halls of Justice: A Weekly Look Inside the Justice Department
By Beverley Lumpkin
W A S H I N G T O N, Feb. 21 — I guess this seems a couple of weeks late, but as one of my dearest sources pointed out regarding the leaked draft of Justice's proposed "Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003" — great God, it is huge!
Wired.com News Story:
A Chilly Response to 'Patriot II'By Ryan Singel
Story location: http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,57636,00.html
02:00 AM Feb. 12, 2003 PT
Unlike its hastily passed predecessor, the Justice Department's wide-ranging follow-up to the Patriot Act of 2001 is already facing intense scrutiny, just days after a civil rights group posted a leaked version of the legislation on its website.
The legislation, nicknamed Patriot II, would broadly expand the government's surveillance and detention powers. Among other measures, it calls for the creation of a terrorist DNA database and allows the attorney general to revoke citizenship of those who provide "material support" to terrorist groups.
Privacy advocates said the bill "gutted the Fourth Amendment," while prominent Democratic senators, including Patrick Leahy, ranking Democratic member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, immediately chastised the administration for its secrecy.
Despite assurances to lawmakers that no bill was in the works, the Justice Department internally circulated a confidential 120-page summary and text of the Domestic Security and Enhancement Act in early January.
The non-partisan Center for Public Integrity published a leaked copy of the bill on Friday.
"As recently as just last week, Justice Department officials have denied to ... the Judiciary Committee that they were drafting another anti-terrorism package," said Leahy in a written statement. "There is bipartisan concern ... about the administration's lack of responsiveness to congressional oversight."
"I have serious concerns ... and hope the Senate will give this bill more scrutiny than the first USA Patriot Act," said Wisconsin Democrat Russ Feingold, the only senator to vote against the Patriot Act. He said he, too, had been misled about the bill's existence.
The Justice Department quickly released a statement that said, "It should not be surprising that the Department of Justice ... discusses additional tools to protect the American people."
The act allows the government to:
* Conduct domestic wiretapping without court order for 15 days following a congressional authorization of use of force or an attack on the United States.
* Secretly detain citizens.
* Deport any alien, including green-card holders, who are convicted of drug possession or an aggravated felony.
* Access a citizen's credit reports without a subpoena.
* Abolish federal court "consent decrees" that limit police surveillance of non-criminal organizations and public events.
* Criminalize the use of encryption software in the commission or planning of a felony.
* Apply strict gag rules to those subpoenaed by a grand jury.
* Collect DNA from suspected terrorists and indeed from any individual whose DNA might assist terror investigations.
* Extend authorization periods for secret wiretaps and Internet surveillance.
* Ease restrictions on the use of secret evidence.
"The administration is pushing everything to less and less judicial and public oversight," said Deirdre Mulligan, director of the Samuelson Law, Technology and Public Policy Clinic. "It's hard to shock me, but this legislation rises to level of shock of consciousness. Alarming as the Patriot Act was, these provisions are right off the edge."
"We haven't been given the most general statistics on the Patriot Act," said Jameel Jaffer of the American Civil Liberties Union, which has sued for information . "It doesn't make sense to expand their powers when we don't know how they are using the ones they got."
The hastily written Patriot Act faced little debate before being passed on Oct. 26, 2001, just weeks after the attacks of Sept. 11.
Since then, the Justice Department has been looking to tweak the Patriot Act, and some of the new proposals simply clean up the original's technically unclear passages.
Not everyone finds the draft outrageous.
"We need to come back and see if the Patriot Act's tools need strengthening," said Mike Scardaville, a policy analyst for the conservative Heritage Foundation. "This is not a program for total government secrecy."
Some news accounts have incorrectly said that the legislation was sent to the vice president and the House speaker. However, the control sheet (PDF) indicates only that the document was sent to 10 internal divisions of the department. (Although the control sheet appears to be addressed to and from Rep. Hastert and Vice President Cheney, those are actually just suppressed recipient lists. Both Hastert and Cheney deny receiving the draft.)
Given the intense attention already focused on this bill, some doubt it will be introduced soon.
"This is a very audacious bill designed to strike while the iron is still hot, but I wonder if it is still hot," said Chris Hoofnagle, deputy counsel for the Electronic Privacy Information Center. "There is already resistance to new government surveillance powers ."
"This is something you have on the shelf," said Hoofnagle. "You wait for an opportune moment, like going to war, to introduce it. They call this a draft, but this bill is definitely close to final and gives a good road map of what the Justice Department wants."
Ground Laid for Historic Presidential Powers Push -- Bracing For Bush's War at Home
by Chisun Lee
March 26 - April 1, 2003
An ugly theory popped up in the nation's capital several weeks ago. The Bush administration would wait until war began, and worry gripped the homeland, to ram a staggering package of domestic security measures through a Congress silenced by fears of seeming unpatriotic. Such measures would radically expand the executive branch powers already inflated by the 2001 USA Patriot Act.
On Friday-as the U.S. began suffering combat fatalities, and the terror alert on whitehouse.gov glared orange for "high"-Justice Department spokesperson Mark Corallo confirmed to the Voice that such measures were coming soon. Exact details are confined to "internal deliberations," he said, but the proposals "will be filling in the holes" of the Patriot Act, "refining things that will enable us to do our job."
But a new, comprehensive review of Bush's growing presidential power hardly reveals any "holes." Rather-using court positions, internal policy changes, and secret decisions as bricks-the administration has built the executive branch into a fortress, nearly invulnerable to the checks of the judiciary and Congress. Most alarming, according to the watchdog authors of the 96-page report, "Imbalance of Powers," the complexity of this historic expansion continues to mask its true proportions.
"You have to connect the dots," said Elisa Massimino, Washington, D.C., director of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (LCHR), a 25-year nonprofit defender of civil liberties and humane policy. LCHR analyzed hundreds of pages of legislation, policy directives, and congressional records, plus a spate of major court cases such as the suit challenging the indefinite detention, without representation, of accused American "dirty bomber" Jose Padilla. The big picture shows an "executive branch amassing so much more power," said Massimino, even in the past six months alone. But since many developments have occurred "under the radar," she said, few members of Congress, let alone of the public, could easily map out such a blueprint on their own.
Briefly, the dots connect like this:
The administration's refusal to release Patriot Act-related records to Congress, the refusal to release the names of detainees and open their court hearings to the public, and the Freedom of Information Act exemptions under the Homeland Security Act add up to a secretive government, acting outside the scrutiny of the public and its representatives.
The development of the Total Information Awareness program, the mining of individuals' shopping and library records, and the melding of spy and arrest functions add up to government invasion of privacy and restriction of expression.
The indefinite detention of U.S. citizens deemed by Bush to be "enemy combatants," the secret detention and deportation of immigrants not charged with a crime, and the tracking and questioning of nationals from particular countries add up to unilateral executive power to deprive people of their physical liberty.
Even with the existing behemoth, Massimino said, a "quantum leap" in executive branch authority is possible. She referred to the recently leaked Justice Department draft bill, the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003, commonly known as Patriot Act II. "It would make over 100 changes to existing law," she said. But as recently as March 4, Attorney General John Ashcroft was being coy about it, refusing to discuss any of the 86-page draft at a Senate hearing.
Among the more extreme powers Patriot Act II would grant the executive branch: The ability to strip citizenship from an American who supports a group the feds label as terrorist. Secret arrests-the government could avoid revealing the location of, charges against, and evidence on someone it was holding. Far looser checks on search-and-seizure activities of law enforcement. And a DNA database for people deemed to be terrorist suspects.
Yale Law School professor Jack Balkin was among the first constitutional experts to condemn Patriot Act II as "a new assault on our civil liberties." Last week he told the Voice, "What we're really worried about here is something being proposed while all eyes are on Iraq. People are whipped up into a frenzy. The executive will propose what, at a certain time, it thinks it can get away with." That, he said, could be the draft bill "in its most virulent form."
Before the war began, there were signs that Congress might fight future presidential power-hogging and bring more heft to the legislative branch. Some Democrats excoriated Ashcroft for his furtiveness on Patriot Act II. Some Republicans were talking about subpoenaing records that the Justice Department refused to release on its use of Patriot Act I powers.
Yet wartime has traditionally meant deferring to the executive. The entire post-September 11 period may have seemed like one big state of war, with the Justice Department successfully skirting Congress and pushing every constitutional challenge to higher, more administration-friendly courts. But given the actual war in Iraq, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said last week, Americans can expect that "protections [of their individual rights] will be ratcheted right down to the constitutional minimum."
Ashcroft deflected angry Senate queries on Patriot Act II, saying "it would be the height of absurdity" to imagine the administration's hustling through a law without congressional review. Yet on October 25, 2001, 98 out of 99 voting senators hurriedly passed the 342-page Patriot Act I-without any public debate and before most of them had read it. The White House made clear their votes would be spun as a test of their patriotism. Votes on Patriot Act II could also be a test-of who has the patriotism to right democracy's severely lopsided structure of checks and balances.
|Published on Friday, February 21, 2003 by the Baltimore Sun|
|Patriot Act Sequel Worse Than Original|
|by Rajeev Goyle|
JUST WHEN we thought the Bush administration's assault on our constitutional protections had begun to subside comes news that Attorney General John Ashcroft is prepared to go even further.
The Justice Department over the last several months has prepared draft legislation - the USA Patriot Act II - that expands the war on terrorism in dangerous ways. It enlarges many of the controversial provisions in the first USA Patriot Act, which passed Congress in the shocking days after Sept. 11.
Overnight, that bill weakened constitutional safeguards that took us decades to build. This bill, if enacted in its present form, would do even worse damage. By giving itself unprecedented power to wiretap citizens, detain people in secret, revoke citizenship and disseminate citizens' confidential information, the administration has trained its sights not only on terrorists but on the very freedom it purports to uphold.
After all, it was President Bush who famously admonished us that we should not let the terrorists win by changing our open, free society and that we should live normally, go on about our business, travel and spend money. Many of us heeded his advice, albeit somewhat anxiously.
But the administration did not respond in kind. Instead of upholding America's great tradition of respecting the rule of law, it has decided that no power is too great. Consider some of what is in Patriot II:
And this is just a sampling.
The problem with the administration's approach is not its vigor - people from all racial, political and religious groups want to bring terrorists swiftly to justice - but its overreach and its vast potential for abuse. Preventing abuse is the reason we have constitutional checks and balances in the first place.
All al-Qaida members caught in the United States should be investigated and dealt with. But what about the innocent people who, because of law enforcement's mistakes, incompetence or prejudice, end up as "suspected" terrorists? Once suspected of terrorism, constitutional protections evaporate, leaving people in fear and subject to harm.
Hundreds of people with no connection to terrorism have been detained and deported in secret since 9/11 without access to counsel. Too many innocents are being caught in the web.
It was not so long ago that this nation went down a very slippery slope. Hindsight makes the shameful internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II and the FBI's ruthless prosecution of civil rights leaders in the 1960s and 1970s universally condemned. We must be mindful of those lessons today.
Thankfully, these concerns are not limited to one side of the political spectrum. Bipartisan majorities have emerged that are deeply skeptical of the Justice Department's power grab during this period of national anxiety.
Some of the loudest voices denouncing the administration have been powerful Republicans, including columnist William Safire and former conservative congressmen Dick Armey of Texas and Bob Barr of Georgia. And Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York termed Patriot II "little more than the institution of a police state."
President Bush and Mr. Ashcroft have not formally introduced Patriot II to Congress and the public. But as they deliberate, perhaps they should heed their own advice. Don't let the terrorists win. Keep America safe and free. We like America, and the Constitution, just the way it is.
Rajeev Goyle is a staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland.
Copyright © 2003, The Baltimore Sun
TOTAL POLICE STATE TAKEOVER The Secret Patriot Act II Destroys What Is Left of American Liberty
Congressman Ron Paul (R-Tex) told the Washington Times that no member of Congress was allowed to read the first Patriot Act that was passed by the House on October 27, 2001. The first Patriot Act was universally decried by civil libertarians and Constitutional scholars from across the political spectrum. William Safire, while writing for the New York Times, described the first Patriot Act's powers by saying that President Bush was seizing dictatorial control.
On February 7, 2003 the Center for Public Integrity, a non-partisan public interest think-tank in DC, revealed the full text of the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003. The classified document had been leaked to them by an unnamed source inside the Federal government. The document consisted of a 33-page section by section analysis of the accompanying 87-page bill.
*Note: On February 10, 2003 I discovered that not only was there a house version that had been covertly brought to Hastert, but that many provisions of the now public Patriot Act II had already been introduced as pork barrel riders on Senate Bill S. 22. Dozens of subsections and even the titles of the subsections are identical to those in the House version. This is very important because it catches the Justice Department in a bald-faced lie. The Justice Department claimed that the secret legislation brought into the House was only for study, and that at this time there was no intention to try and pass it. Now upon reading S. 22, it is clear that the leadership of the Senate is fully aware of the Patriot Act II, and have passed these riders out of their committees into the full bill. I spent two hours scanning through S. 22 and, let me tell you, it is a nightmare for anyone who loves liberty. It even contains the Our Lady of Peace Act that registers all gun owners. It bans the private sale of all firearms, creates a Federal ballistics database, and much more.
There are other bills in the Senate that grant the Federal government sweeping powers. S.45 states in section one that the office for State and local government coordination for Homeland Security will no longer just oversee, but that now local cities critical functions will be headed by a Federal director. On Tuesday, February 11th, we noted a story in The Times-Picayune with the headline: Nagin announces major overhaul of City Hall --New Homeland Security office to oversee cops, firemen, emergency agency. The Federal power-grab taking place is widespread and all Americans must mobilize to resist it.
Another interesting bill is S. 16. S. 16 is a smorgasbord of Federal funding and control over local police departments and needs to be examined closely.
S. 89, The Universal National Service Act of 2003 is the hallmark of an authoritarian society. The description of the bill is, "To provide for the common defense by requiring that all young persons in the United States, including women, perform a period of military service of civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security, and for other purposes." We have looked at some of the programs that the Federal government has already been setting up for service here in the "homeland" and they include East German-style tattletale squads of every type, which are just basically a super TIPS program. The nightmare goes on and on. Check it out for yourself.
The Patriot Act II bill itself is stamped "Confidential -Not for Distribution." Upon reading the analysis and bill, I was stunned by the scientifically crafted tyranny contained in the legislation. The Justice Department Office of Legislative Affairs admits that they had indeed covertly transmitted a copy of the legislation to Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, (R-Il) and the Vice President of the United States, Dick Cheney as well as the executive heads of federal law enforcement agencies.
It is important to note that no member of Congress was allowed to see the first Patriot Act before its passage, and that no debate was tolerate by the House and Senate leadership. The intentions of the White House and Speaker Hastert concerning Patriot Act II appear to be a carbon copy replay of the events that led to the unprecedented passage of the first Patriot Act.
There are two glaring areas that need to be looked at concerning this new legislation:
1. The secretive tactics being used by the White House and Speaker Hastert to keep even the existence of this legislation secret would be more at home in Communist China than in the United States. The fact that Dick Cheney publicly managed the steamroller passage of the first Patriot Act, insuring that no one was allowed to read it and publicly threatening members of Congress that if they didn’t vote in favor of it that they would be blamed for the next terrorist attack, is by the White House’s own definition terrorism. The move to clandestinely craft and then bully passage of any legislation by the Executive Branch is clearly an impeachable offence.
2. The second Patriot Act is a mirror image of powers that Julius Caesar and Adolf Hitler gave themselves. Whereas the First Patriot Act only gutted the First, Third, Fourth and Fifth Amendments, and seriously damaged the Seventh and the Tenth, the Second Patriot Act reorganizes the entire Federal government as well as many areas of state government under the dictatorial control of the Justice Department, the Office of Homeland Security and the FEMA NORTHCOM military command. The Domestic Security Enhancement Act 2003, also known as the Second Patriot Act is by its very structure the definition of dictatorship.
I challenge all Americans to study the new Patriot Act and to compare it to the Constitution, Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence. Ninety percent of the act has nothing to do with terrorism and is instead a giant Federal power-grab with tentacles reaching into every facet of our society. It strips American citizens of all of their rights and grants the government and its private agents total immunity.
Here is a quick thumbnail sketch of just some of the draconian measures encapsulated within this tyrannical legislation:
SECTION 501 (Expatriation of Terrorists) expands the Bush administration’s “enemy combatant” definition to all American citizens who “may” have violated any provision of Section 802 of the first Patriot Act. (Section 802 is the new definition of domestic terrorism, and the definition is “any action that endangers human life that is a violation of any Federal or State law.”) Section 501 of the second Patriot Act directly connects to Section 125 of the same act. The Justice Department boldly claims that the incredibly broad Section 802 of the First USA Patriot Act isn’t broad enough and that a new, unlimited definition of terrorism is needed.
Under Section 501 a US citizen engaging in lawful activities can be grabbed off the street and thrown into a van never to be seen again. The Justice Department states that they can do this because the person “had inferred from conduct” that they were not a US citizen. Remember Section 802 of the First USA Patriot Act states that any violation of Federal or State law can result in the “enemy combatant” terrorist designation.
SECTION 201 of the second Patriot Act makes it a criminal act for any member of the government or any citizen to release any information concerning the incarceration or whereabouts of detainees. It also states that law enforcement does not even have to tell the press who they have arrested and they never have to release the names.
SECTION 301 and 306 (Terrorist Identification Database) set up a national database of “suspected terrorists” and radically expand the database to include anyone associated with suspected terrorist groups and anyone involved in crimes or having supported any group designated as “terrorist.” These sections also set up a national DNA database for anyone on probation or who has been on probation for any crime, and orders State governments to collect the DNA for the Federal government.
SECTION 312 gives immunity to law enforcement engaging in spying operations against the American people and would place substantial restrictions on court injunctions against Federal violations of civil rights across the board.
SECTION 101 will designate individual terrorists as foreign powers and again strip them of all rights under the “enemy combatant” designation.
SECTION 102 states clearly that any information gathering, regardless of whether or not those activities are illegal, can be considered to be clandestine intelligence activities for a foreign power. This makes news gathering illegal.
SECTION 103 allows the Federal government to use wartime martial law powers domestically and internationally without Congress declaring that a state of war exists.
SECTION 106 is bone-chilling in its straightforwardness. It states that broad general warrants by the secret FSIA court (a panel of secret judges set up in a star chamber system that convenes in an undisclosed location) granted under the first Patriot Act are not good enough. It states that government agents must be given immunity for carrying out searches with no prior court approval. This section throws out the entire Fourth Amendment against unreasonable searches and seizures.
SECTION 109 allows secret star chamber courts to issue contemp charges against any individual or corporation who refuses to incriminate themselves or others. This sections annihilate the last vestiges of the Fifth Amendment.
SECTION 110 restates that key police state clauses in the first Patriot Act were not sunsetted and removes the five year sunset clause from other subsections of the first Patriot Act. After all, the media has told us: “this is the New America. Get used to it. This is forever.”
SECTION 111 expands the definition of the “enemy combatant” designation.
SECTION 122 restates the government’s newly announced power of “surveillance without a court order.”
SECTION 123 restates that the government no longer needs warrants and that the investigations can be a giant dragnet-style sweep described in press reports about the Total Information Awareness Network. One passage reads, “thus the focus of domestic surveillance may be less precise than that directed against more conventional types of crime.”
*Note: Over and over again, in subsection after subsection, the second Patriot Act states that its new Soviet-type powers will be used to fight international terrorism, domestic terrorism and other types of crimes. Of course the government has already announced in Section 802 of the first USA Patriot act that any crime is considered domestic terrorism.
SECTION 126 grants the government the right to mine the entire spectrum of public and private sector information from bank records to educational and medical records. This is the enacting law to allow ECHELON and the Total Information Awareness Network to totally break down any and all walls of privacy.
The government states that they must look at everything to “determine” if individuals or groups might have a connection to terrorist groups. As you can now see, you are guilty until proven innocent.
SECTION 127 allows the government to takeover coroners’ and medical examiners’ operations whenever they see fit. See how this is like Bill Clinton’s special medical examiner he had in Arkansas that ruled that people had committed suicide when their arms and legs had been cut off.
SECTION 128 allows the Federal government to place gag orders on Federal and State Grand Juries and to take over the proceedings. It also disallows individuals or organizations to even try to quash a Federal subpoena. So now defending yourself will be a terrorist action.
SECTION 129 destroys any remaining whistleblower protection for Federal agents.
SECTION 202 allows corporations to keep secret their activities with toxic biological, chemical or radiological materials.
SECTION 205 allows top Federal officials to keep all their financial dealings secret, and anyone investigating them can be considered a terrorist. This should be very useful for Dick Cheney to stop anyone investigating Haliburton.
SECTION 303 sets up national DNA database of suspected terrorists. The database will also be used to “stop other unlawful activities.” It will share the information with state, local and foreign agencies for the same purposes.
SECTION 311 federalizes your local police department in the area of information sharing.
SECTION 313 provides liability protection for businesses, especially big businesses that spy on their customers for Homeland Security, violating their privacy agreements. It goes on to say that these are all preventative measures – has anyone seen Minority Report? This is the access hub for the Total Information Awareness Network.
SECTION 321 authorizes foreign governments to spy on the American people and to share information with foreign governments.
SECTION 322 removes Congress from the extradition process and allows officers of the Homeland Security complex to extradite American citizens anywhere they wish. It also allows Homeland Security to secretly take individuals out of foreign countries.
SECTION 402 is titled “Providing Material Support to Terrorism.” The section reads that there is no requirement to show that the individual even had the intent to aid terrorists.
SECTION 403 expands the definition of weapons of mass destruction to include any activity that affects interstate or foreign commerce.
SECTION 404 makes it a crime for a terrorist or “other criminals” to use encryption in the commission of a crime.
SECTION 408 creates “lifetime parole” (basically, slavery) for a whole host of crimes.
SECTION 410 creates no statute of limitations for anyone that engages in terrorist actions or supports terrorists. Remember: any crime is now considered terrorism under the first Patriot Act.
SECTION 411 expands crimes that are punishable by death. Again, they point to Section 802 of the first Patriot Act and state that any terrorist act or support of terrorist act can result in the death penalty.
SECTION 421 increases penalties for terrorist financing. This section states that any type of financial activity connected to terrorism will result to time in prison and $10-50,000 fines per violation.
SECTIONS 427 sets up asset forfeiture provisions for anyone engaging in terrorist activities.
There are many other sections that I did not cover in the interest of time. The American people were shocked by the despotic nature of the first Patriot Act. The second Patriot Act dwarfs all police state legislation in modern world history.
Usually, corrupt governments allow their citizens lots of wonderful rights on paper, while carrying out their jackbooted oppression covertly. From snatch and grab operations to warantless searches, Patriot Act II is an Adolf Hitler wish list.
You can understand why President Bush, Dick Cheney and Dennis Hastert want to keep this legislation secret not just from Congress, but the American people as well. Bill Allison, Managing Editor of the Center for Public Integrity, the group that broke this story, stated on my radio show that it was obvious that they were just waiting for another terrorist attack to opportunistically get this new bill through. He then shocked me with an insightful comment about how the Federal government was crafting this so that they could go after the American people in general. He also agreed that the FBI has been quietly demonizing patriots and Christians and “those who carry around pocket Constitutions.”
I have produced two documentary films and written a book about what really happened on September 11 th . The bottom line is this: the military-industrial complex carried the attacks out as a pretext for control. Anyone who doubts this just hasn’t looked at the mountains of hard evidence.
Of course, the current group of white collar criminals in the White House might not care that we’re finding out the details of their next phase. Because, after all, when smallpox gets released, or more buildings start blowing up, the President can stand up there at his lectern suppressing a smirk, squeeze out a tear or two, and tell us that “See I was right. I had to take away your rights to keep you safe. And now it’s your fault that all of these children are dead.” From that point on, anyone who criticizes tyranny will be shouted down by the paid talking head government mouthpieces in the mainstream media.
You have to admit, it’s a beautiful script. Unfortunately, it’s being played out in the real world. If we don’t get the word out that government is using terror to control our lives while doing nothing to stop the terrorists, we will deserve what we get - tyranny. But our children won’t deserve it.