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ACLU: Ashcroft Obscures True Threat of Patriot Act

Remarks of of Laura W. Murphy,
Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:

Ashcroft Speech Obscures True Threat of PATRIOT Act

....there is a growing sense among regular Americans of all political stripes – from the most right-wing to the most left – that the PATRIOT Act went too far, too fast. Instead of merely taking rational, judicious steps to update and improve our federal police and intelligence resources, it overreaches by eroding basic checks and balances against White House and cabinet-agency power, at the expense of the people’s representatives in Congress and the bulwark of our rights, the courts.

....Moreover, when the Attorney General makes the unsubstantiated claim that the PATRIOT Act would have definitively prevented the 9/11 attacks, he also obscures another key point: the USA PATRIOT Act isn’t just about terrorism....By the Attorney General’s own admission to the Judiciary Committee, the Act is actively being applied in non-terrorism related investigations, even though terrorism was the sole justification for the bill for most of the lawmakers who voted for it.

....we need to ask ourselves several questions. Most importantly, is the Attorney General’s roadshow political in nature, designed to shore up flagging conservative support in swing states and is it prudent to have the Attorney General give up his official duties to hit the huskings for an unpopular piece of legislation? Safety and freedom will both suffer if the answers are what some expect.

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