Skip to comments.Sununu's Folly (Patriot Act)
Posted on 12/16/2005 2:58:23 PM PST by smoothsailing
December 16, 2005, 5:19 p.m.
If New Hampshire Republican Senator John Sununu wants to endanger our national security, shouldn't he at least know what he's talking about? Apparently that's too much to ask of the usually admirable senator, who is helping filibuster the reauthorization of the Patriot Act. Even former Clinton Attorney General Janet Reno has endorsed the Patriot Act; it is the single most important piece of counterterrorism legislation passed post-9/11.
If the status quo holds after Friday's failure to invoke cloture Republicans got only 52 votes when they need 60 -the 16 provisions of the law that were sun-setted and that are the most important will lapse at the end of the year.
Sununu's criticism of the reauthorization, set out in a Union Leader op-ed earlier this week, are wrongheaded and empty.
Sununu says the Patriot Act is at odds with our country's convictions that "evidence must be shown to obtain a search warrant; we have a right to face an accuser; and when wrongly prosecuted, we can appeal our case to court." Not true. The Patriot Act does nothing to change those assumptions of our legal system. The government cannot get a search warrant without showing a judge probable cause either that a crime has been committed or that the subject of the warrant is an agent of a foreign power (such as a terrorist organization).
When people are accused or wrongfully convicted, they fully maintain their rights to confrontation and appeal; but those rights come into play only after a person has been formally accused. They have always been irrelevant while the government is conducting an investigation, even of an ordinary crime. Why should things be any different in the case of a threat to national security, which is what the Patriot Act covers?
Sununu then hones in on the favorite targets of Patriot opponents: Section 215, the so-called "library records" provision, which actually doesn't mention libraries and allows the government access to a wide variety of business records and other evidence; and national-security letters (NSLs), which allow the FBI to compel information "without the approval of a judge," Sununu darkly observes.
He neglects to note that federal prosecutors have for decades been fully empowered, in investigations of run-of-the-mill crimes like gambling and minor frauds, to issue grand-jury subpoenas, which can compel all the same evidence with absolutely no court supervision. There was no widespread abuse of these tactics prior to Patriot, just as there is no record of their being abused in the four years since Patriot sensibly extended them to national-security investigations.
Sununu claims that his problem with Section 215 and NSLs is that they can't be appealed and that recipients of government requests for information are subjected to "gag orders." That claim is misleading. The Justice Department has long taken the position that Section 215 orders can be appealed.
The proposed Patriot Act reauthorization not only formally creates a judicial-review process allowing a judge to modify or set aside flawed Section 215 orders or NSLs, but adds other protections as well: It loosens the nondisclosure requirements to facilitate court challenges; calls for "minimization procedures" that will limit the government's ability to retain and disseminate the intelligence collected; and provides for monitoring by an inspector general to make certain the authorities are being used properly.
On the basis of these misunderstandings, Sununu stands with Democrats blocking an up-or-down vote on the reauthorization. If Sununu and his Republican colleagues Larry Craig, Lisa Murkowski, and Chuck Hagel weren't giving Democrats cover, the Democrats probably wouldn't be able to maintain their near-unanimity on this politically perilous vote. What a shame.
True about the nukes.
Sununu is of Arab descent, as are the awful Zogby brothers, though I believe that all three are at least, nominally, "Christian."
That ought to send up more red flags than a Stalin Day parade in Red Square.
Clinton and Reno tried to get legislation similar to the "Patriot Act" passed after the OKC bombing. Since they didn't bear the Magic Elephant Talisman that clouds conservatives' minds, the power grab was stopped -- for the moment.
Well, on this forum there weren't too many for Bob Smith in the 2002 primary challenge that he lost to Sununu. Of course, Bob Smith blamed GWB for his loss and went on to endorse Kerry: he must have come unglued.
Well, we could thank the Reagan family for TWO of the worst Supreme Court appointments too.
The Patriot Act is NOT constitutional. Here's a good article written by a man I think most of my fellow FReepers have a lot of respect for (Judge Andrew Napolitano):
Here's another one, written by Rep. RON PAUL (R-TX):
Most Americans understand that in times of war we want a President who makes decisions that guard us...apparently you find that difficult to comprehend..will it take the death of thousands of your fellow citizens from a nuke attack of those raghead bastards...to make you understand that your rights have been violated??
"Abused" is an indefinite term. One person's "abuse" is another person's "reasonable." So, you and others, and perhaps the majority of Americans may find the following to be "reasonable" uses of Patriot Act powers. "Privacy" is and has always been a balance between competing interests, and no two of us draw the line in exactly the same place.
Las Vegas Mayor Oscar B. Goodman loves to remind visitors of Sin City's oh-so-discreet tagline: "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas." But since the New Year's celebrations ringing in 2004, he has had to modify the motto. Fearing a terrorist attack, the FBI descended on casinos, car rental agencies, storage warehouses, and other Las Vegas businesses with sheaves of "national security letters" demanding financial records covering about 1 million revelers. Startled business owners who questioned the action were told they had one choice: cough up their documents or wind up in court.
The national office of the American Civil Liberties Union is weighing in on the FBI's use of the Patriot Act to obtain wiretaps in the G-sting political corruption investigation. The feds used the post-Sept. 11 counter-terrorism legislation to seize the financial records of Las Vegas strip club owner Michael Galardi.
"The attorney general didn't tell Congress that he needed the Patriot Act to raid nudie bars," Laura Murphy, director of the ACLU Washington legislative office, told AFP Worldwide News Agency. "He told Congress in no uncertain terms that the Patriot Act was needed to prevent another life-threatening catastrophe at the hands of terrorists."
The FBI used provisions under the act to subpoena financial records that prosecutors may use as evidence of bribery.
The FBI may now demand information on citizens with "national security letters," which were created in the 1970s to investigate suspected foreign spies. FBI agents threatened to issue such letters in Las Vegas in December 2003 when casino executives balked at handing over gaming and personal information on tourists celebrating New Year's Eve.
Business leaders say companies receive tens of thousands of these letters each year, and complying is too costly. In a recent report by The Wall Street Journal, one banker said that 15 percent of her institution's annual operating costs are spent on Patriot Act compliance.
You are an absolute and total buffoon! What does that have to do with anything?! What a completely ignorant, borderline racist comment. You disagree with Sununu? Fine. Don't stoop to the level of your local Kleagle.
No, what I want is an example of where the Patriot Act was used to abuse an innocent American. Show me.
Akaka (D-HI)... Baucus (D-MT)... Bayh (D-IN)... Biden (D-DE)... Bingaman (D-NM)... Boxer (D-CA)... Byrd (D-WV)... Cantwell (D-WA)... Carper (D-DE)... Clinton (D-NY)... Conrad (D-ND)... Corzine (D-NJ)... Craig (R-ID)... Dayton (D-MN)... Dorgan (D-ND)... Durbin (D-IL)... Feingold (D-WI)... Feinstein (D-CA)... Frist (R-TN)... Hagel (R-NE)... Harkin (D-IA)... Inouye (D-HI)... Jeffords (I-VT)... Kennedy (D-MA)... Kerry (D-MA)... Kohl (D-WI)... Landrieu (D-LA)... Lautenberg (D-NJ)... Leahy (D-VT)... Levin (D-MI)... Lieberman (D-CT)... Lincoln (D-AR)... Mikulski (D-MD)... Murkowski (R-AK)... Murray (D-WA)... Nelson (D-FL)... Obama (D-IL)... Pryor (D-AR)... Reed (D-RI)... Reid (D-NV)... Rockefeller (D-WV)... Salazar (D-CO)... Sarbanes (D-MD)... Schumer (D-NY)... Stabenow (D-MI)... Sununu (R-NH)... Wyden (D-OR)...... Not Voting - Dodd (D-CT)
But your point about the Mason-Dixon Line is well taken.
Most Americans don't appreciate the advantages of a police state. When they decide to do something about illegal immigration, then maybe we will consider this sneaking and snooping without a declaration of war. Don't bother with the nuke threat, we have been living in threat of total thermonuclear annihilation since the fifties.
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