Patriot Act Fix Just a Beginning
We often say the Patriot needs to be fixed, not extended. In an editorial today, the New York Times makes a further important point: Fixing the Patriot Act should be just the beginning, not the end. As Congress debates the various Patriot Act fixes in the coming weeks, it should not lose sight of the ball.
These hearings should look beyond the Patriot Act, to the larger picture of civil liberties and the war on terror. After Sept. 11, the government rounded up illegal immigrants, and put hundreds with no ties to terrorism behind bars for months, often in deplorable conditions. The Justice Department's own inspector general found that the government made "little attempt" to distinguish people with ties to terrorism from those without. In conducting this roundup, the Bush administration gave itself far more power than the Patriot Act does. Under the act, aliens are to be held no more than seven days before immigration or criminal charges are brought.
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