Some elements should be cut
Groundswell of critics means problems
Published by news-press.com on November 16, 2003
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... Now a skeptical public and some members of Congress want to revisit the Patriot Act and roll
back some of its more excessive provisions. That’s because Attorney General John Ashcroft, who recently went around
the country defending the Patriot Act to friendly audiences, has used his new powers for purposes outside the arena of the
war on terrorism.
For example, Patriot Act provisions have been used against prostitution rings, cigarette smugglers, environmental vandals
and journalists who wrote about a lone computer hacker.
Recently, an FBI bugging device was found in the office of the Democratic mayor of Philadelphia during a close re-election
race with a Republican opponent. If given his way, Ashcroft intends to craft even greater surveillance legislation in the
form of the so-called Patriot II and Victory Acts. ...
Against the backdrop of wide public support for repealing the Patriot Act, Congress now has an obligation to revisit the
Patriot Act and at least remove some its more egregious elements.
It should also block efforts by the Justice Department to amass even greater surveillance powers. Turning the nation’s
librarians, bankers, and web service providers into East German Stasi-like snoops for the FBI is as un-American it is absurd.
— Wayne Madsen is a senior fellow of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (www.epic.org)
in Washington, D.C. Readers may write him at EPIC, 1718 Connecticut Ave. N.W., Suite 200, Washington, D.C. 20009.
Copyright 2002, The News-Press.