Clark Would Suspend Portions of Patriot Act

Democratic Presidential contender Wesley Clark announced at a New Hampshire campaign stop Wednesday that he would suspend portions of the Patriot Act.

Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark said Wednesday that he would suspend all provisions of the USA Patriot Act dealing with “sneak-and-peek” searches and wiretaps without court orders against suspected terrorists.

“We’re going to suspend that right away. If you want to go do a ‘sneak-and-peak’ search or do a wiretap, go back to the judge and do it the right way, none of this other stuff,” he said.

Clark also said Ashcroft would not get expanded powers if he were President:

Clark said he would oppose the tighter restrictions that Ashcroft has asked Congress to approve. “Number one, no new Patriot Act, forget it, we’re not going to do that,” Clark said to applause.

Where are the other candidates on the Patriot Act?

Among the Democratic candidates, North Carolina Sen. John Edwards has offered his support for proposals that would require law enforcement to provide more rationale before doing “sneak-and-peek” searches, which can range from personal financial records to books borrowed from public libraries.

Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry supports legislation that would limit “sneak and peek” warrants only to when a life is at stake, evidence may be destroyed or there is a risk of flight, a Kerry spokesman said.

Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich has called for the repeal of the entire act. Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean and Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman have criticized the act, but have yet to endorse any plan to change it. Edwards, Kerry and Lieberman all voted to put the Patriot Act on the books two years ago.

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