Department of Justice want more PATRIOT powers
Seemingly unable to catch any terrorists with the powers they already have, is there any reason to believe that more such powers will do any good? I think not. More the power to abuse innocent citizens with [via the ACLU Online newsletter].
Attorney General Ashcroft and his allies in Congress are taking advantage of the 9/11 Commission report to push an expansion of the powers of the Department of Justice and erode key checks and balances that prevent government abuse. Many of their earlier proposals met with defeat, but now they are pushing new legislation that would dramatically expand on the PATRIOT Act and even further restrict our freedom.
The latest proposed legislation -- "Tools to Fight Terrorism Act of 2004" (S. 2679) -- would increase the government?s powers to secretly obtain personal records without judicial review and limit judicial discretion over the use of secret evidence in criminal cases. It would also eliminate important foreign intelligence wiretapping safeguards and allow the use of secret intelligence wiretaps in immigration cases without notice or an opportunity to suppress illegally acquired evidence.
The legislation would also grant the Department of Justice expanded administrative subpoena power -- the authority to seize records and compel testimony in terrorism cases without prior review by a court or grand jury. This would erode already diminished judicial oversight, and would allow access to confidential records without individual suspicion of wrongdoing.
Furthermore, this legislation would expand the use of the death penalty -- a step that would hurt efforts to coordinate anti-terrorism activities and extraditions with those countries that oppose capital punishment.
Take Action! Urge your Senators to oppose this expansion of power.
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