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WAR: New Patriot Act Could Include Administrative Subpoenas

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posted on May, 18 2005 @ 09:33 PM
The United States Senate is currently considering the renewal of the Patriot Act. The original Patriot Act expanded law enforcement's powers when pursuing potential terrorist activity. In addition to making previous provisions of the first Patriot Act permanent, the Senate Intelligence Committee is considering empowering the FBI to issue administrative subpoenas. This would significantly expand the FBI's ability to gather evidence without judicial review or approval.
WASHINGTON - The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee is working on a bill that would renew the Patriot Act and expand government powers in the name of fighting terrorism, letting the FBI subpoena records without permission from a judge or grand jury.

Much of the debate in Congress has concerned possibly limiting some of the powers in the anti-terrorism law passed 45 days after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

But the measure being written by Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., would give the FBI new power to issue administrative subpoenas, which are not reviewed by a judge or grand jury, for quickly obtaining records, electronic data or other evidence in terrorism investigations, according to aides for the GOP majority on the committee who briefed reporters Wednesday.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

The first version of the Patriot Act generated a lot of controversy. Undoubtedly, this provision would create even further uproar. Even if it is passed, the ACLU will surely sue to prevent its implementation and demand Supreme Court review.

[edit on 5/18/2005 by ChemicalLaser]

posted on May, 19 2005 @ 11:26 AM
Intersting. I sent an alert on this article, via the relevant button on the voting section.

I'm not one for hysteria, and I don't think that the original Patriot Act was the world destroying Fascist Blueprint that others think it is. Regardless, it was passed in a hurry, with a lot of reckless Congressmen stating that they hadn't even had time to read it. Anything concerning civil rights should receive attention and be debated in the public arena.

This new measure seems moderately reasonable, at least it has some good safe guards:

Recipients could challenge the subpoenas in court and the Bush administration would have to report to Congress twice a year exactly how it was using this investigatory power, the aides said.

This is disconcerting:

Eight expiring sections of the law that deal with foreign intelligence investigations would become permanent, they said.

The Patriot Act is an emergency act, its not supposed to be something permanent. Of course, the Patriot Act is mostly just a set of ammendments and corrections to other laws, so some of those provisions becoming permanent isn't of itself 'wrong'. I suspect however that making some provisions permanent on their own can be used later on, people will reason 'well, parts of it have already become permanent, that sets a precedent for making other parts permanent, and goes against any idea that the Act itself was temporary'

So, too, would a provision that authorizes wiretapping of suspected terrorists who operate without clear ties to a particular terrorist network.

As disturbing as it is, there doesn't seem to be any way to get around it. These networks are complex, sophisticated, and dangerous. They have to be stopped. Thats why the Patriot Act is supposed to be temporary, to deal with this specific and current jihadist threat. It shouldn't become part of the standard way of doing things.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and other administration officials have been adamant that the expiring provisions become permanent, with few changes

There's simply no reason to make these things permanent. The issue is fighting the bin ladin et al terror networks. Not dealing with unknown future threats of all types. There has to be a limit. Patriot is questionable to begin with, but pragmatism forces having some leeway for the time being. If the government can't defeat the enemy in the field and at home, then it doesn't deserve these powers in the first place.


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