Skip to comments.The Civil Liberties Show
Posted on 08/08/2005 7:06:26 PM PDT by freepatriot32
It was reported in the Washington Post on Monday that the civil liberties board, whose main goal is to make sure individual rights are not trampled upon during our so-called "War on Terror," has yet to meet and is under-funded by the Bush administration. Created by Congress last year, the board consists of five members nominated by the president to act as an independent watchdog against potential abuses of the Patriot Act.
President Bush took six months to appoint five members to the panel as reported in the Washington Post. In his proposed budget for fiscal year 2006, he allocated $750,000 for the panel, while a similar panel in the Department of Homeland Security has a budget of $13 million. As House Republican Christopher Shay commented, "It's not a priority for the administration."
Even more alarming is that the civil liberties panel lacks any subpoena powers or independent authority. It is a watchdog with no teeth. It is apparent that the civil liberties panel was created by the Bush administration to pay lip service to those who have criticized the Patriot Act. The panel has no power or authority to properly investigate violations of the Patriot Act.
Additionally, the current Republican administration has signaled - by making this panel a low priority - that law enforcement agencies have free rein.
The very fact that a panel has been established shows that there is the potential of abuse under the Patriot Act. The Bush administration and Congress are required to take this issue seriously. It's time for our government to stop "putting on a show" regarding civil liberties and to start looking out for the rights of all Americans
Libertarians make me sick.
We're at war with terrorists. The Patriot Act helps us arrest terrorists. Over and out.
Ironically, it is our civil rights and our freedoms which will be used to bring us down, as an enemy with no such values uses them to cause us to impose limitations on our own self defense. Actually, it is not so much our freedoms which will do us in, it is our recent cultural insistence that freedoms are absolute and indepenedent of any obligations or responsibilities on the part of those using them.
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A New Jersey man accused with using a laser to beam pilots of two planes has been charged under the Patriot Act. The FBI has acknowledged that the incident does not have any relation to terrorism but called David Banach's actions "foolhardy and negligent." "An analysis of the Justice Department's own list of terrorism prosecutions by The Washington Post shows that 39 people, not 200, as officials have implied, were convicted of crimes related to terrorism or national security." The Post report said, "Most of the others were convicted of relatively minor crimes such as making false statements and violating immigration law and had nothing to do with terrorism."
"An analysis of the Justice Department's own list of terrorism prosecutions by The Washington Post shows that 39 people, not 200, as officials have implied, were convicted of crimes related to terrorism or national security."
The Post report said, "Most of the others were convicted of relatively minor crimes such as making false statements and violating immigration law and had nothing to do with terrorism."
Treasury Department figures reviewed by Newsweek show that this year the Feds have used the Patriot Act to conduct searches on 962 suspects, yielding "hits" on 6,397 financial records. Of those, two thirds (4,261) were in money-laundering cases with no terror connection. Among the agencies making requests, Newsweek has learned, were the IRS (which investigates tax fraud), the Postal Service (postal fraud) and the Secret Service counterfeiting). One request came from the Agriculture Department -- a case that apparently involved food stamp fraud.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri filed an action against PayPal for violating the PATRIOT Act (18 U.S.C. 1960), based on PayPal's use in processing funds transfered for online gambling.
There are other troublesome aspects of The Patriot Act. Take, for example, Title III, aimed at money laundering. This became part of the Act at the insistence of Democrats that include Senators Daschle and Kerry. The Justice Department has used it to investigate corruption allegations against a Las Vegas strip club owner!