Patriot Act Being Used for Non-Terror Crimes
In May, 2003, the House Judiciary Committee released a report from the Justice Department that acknowledged that the Patriot Act was being used for non-terror crimes. But it gave scant information about the details. The New York Times follows up:
The government is using its expanded authority under the far-reaching law to investigate suspected drug traffickers, white-collar criminals, blackmailers, child pornographers, money launderers, spies and even corrupt foreign leaders, federal officials said.
Justice Department officials say they are simply using all the tools now available to them to pursue criminals — terrorists or otherwise. But critics of the administration's antiterrorism tactics assert that such use of the law is evidence the administration has sold the American public a false bill of goods, using terrorism as a guise to pursue a broader law enforcement agenda.
The Justice Department has not denied it is using the Patriot Act in routine criminal investigations:
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