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Graham quiet about his role on Patriot Act (he co-wrote)
St. Petersburg Times ^ | June 14, 2003 | BILL ADAIR

Posted on 06/16/2003 5:17:12 PM PDT by certify

Graham quiet about his role on Patriot Act On the campaign trail, he isn't bringing up that he co-wrote the controversial bill in the Senate.

WASHINGTON - When Sen. Bob Graham campaigned in Iowa last weekend, at least two Democratic activists complained that the USA Patriot Act threatened civil liberties. They asked what he planned to do about it.

The Florida senator replied that he was unhappy with Attorney General John Ashcroft's implementation of the antiterrorism law, but Graham neglected to mention an important fact: He co-wrote it.

The controversial law puts Graham in a difficult spot.

As the former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, he wrote sections of the bill dealing with foreign intelligence. But as a presidential candidate, he doesn't want to alienate supporters.

"For some people, the Patriot Act will be a major issue," said Dr. Julianne Thomas, a Cedar Rapids pediatrician who is vice chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party. "There are groups where that could be a problem for Sen. Graham."

He has avoided the political quicksand by saying little about his role.

Graham has not mentioned it in his speeches and he does not include it in his campaign biography. But it is mentioned in his official Senate biography.

Graham isn't alone in facing questions about the law. The other senators in the Democratic presidential race - John Edwards, John Kerry and Joe Lieberman - voted for the legislation.

"The issue is kind of tricky," said political analyst Stuart Rothenberg. "On the one hand, it's terrific to take on Ashcroft and complain about government intrusion and excessive police powers. On the other hand, you don't want to be defending terrorists' rights. It's kind of awkward."

Edwards, Kerry and Lieberman, like Graham, have not emphasized their support of the Patriot Act. But two candidates who oppose it, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean and Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, are using the issue to set themselves apart.

Dean says portions of the Patriot Act are unconstitutional.

"It can't be constitutional to hold an American citizen without access to a lawyer," he told the political journal "Secondly, it can't be constitutional for the FBI to be able to go through your files at the library or the local video store, to see what you've taken out in the last week, without a warrant."

Kucinich, who voted against the bill, says on his campaign Web site, "We should not let the actions of terrorists cause us to reject our American system of justice. The ultimate terror in a democracy is the destruction of constitutional principles."

As Graham travels the country for his campaign, he hears criticism of the law, which gave the government expanded powers to intercept telephone conversations, examine e-mail and obtain library records. The Democratic activists, who seem unaware of Graham's role, say the law invades privacy and gives the government too much authority to see what innocent people are reading and watching.

The law, passed shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, was intended to be an aggressive response to terrorism. It gives the FBI new authority to follow someone's Internet usage and e-mail. It makes it easier for the government to retrieve credit, medical and student records. It eases the restrictions on "sneak and peek" searches, which can be done without notifying the person who is targeted. And it makes it easier for the FBI to conduct "roving surveillance" when people use multiple telephones and computers.

The bill passed with overwhelming support: 98-1 in the Senate (Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wis., was the lone vote against it) and 357-66 in the House.

But there is growing opposition to it.

Several city councils have passed resolutions against it. Civil liberties groups want the provisions on library and book store records revised.

Judith Krug, director of the office for intellectual freedom for the American Library Association, said the law gives the FBI unprecedented powers.

"Everybody has aspects of their lives that really are nobody's business," Krug said. "I don't want anybody delving into my reading."

A spokesman for Graham said he wrote portions of the law that have not been controversial, such as sections that require criminal investigators to share information about possible terrorists with foreign intelligence analysts. Graham also wrote sections that are designed to improve the sharing of information among federal, state and local agencies.

Graham said this week that he is concerned about the implementation of other sections of the law. "I think the attorney general has gone beyond what the Congress intended, particularly in areas such as disparate treatment and what amounts to a form of racial profiling against Americans of Islamic background."

Graham said Congress should conduct "a serious review of what has happened under this act." He said he opposes an expanded bill dubbed "Patriot 2" and opposes an effort to make the current law permanent. It is due to expire in 2005.

Graham is a moderate who occasionally takes positions that are out of step with rank-and-file Democrats. He supported the line-item veto; he endorses free trade agreements; and he opposed the Clinton administration on keeping a Cuban boy in the United States against his father's wishes.

It's unclear how much the Patriot Act controversy will affect Graham.

Steven V. Aftergood, an intelligence policy analyst for the Federation of American Scientists, said Graham "is one of the co-creators of the law. So he bears some responsibility for overseeing and correcting it when it goes astray."

Thomas, the Iowa Democratic official, said although Graham may lose supporters because of his role in writing the Patriot Act, he could pick up new backers because of his opposition to the Iraq war.

"We're fairly antiwar in Iowa," she said, "so I think he and Dean and Kucinich get points for being against the war. I think that's a bigger issue" than the Patriot Act.

Tom Douglass, a retired Spanish professor in North Liberty, Iowa, said he was disappointed in Graham for his work on the bill.

"Graham, I like him, I could forgive him for doing this stuff with the Patriot Act," said Douglass, who said he is leaning toward supporting Dean or Kucinich. "It does bother me a little bit. But from my standpoint, it's not a candidacy killer. Everybody makes mistakes."

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; Government; Miscellaneous; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 2004; patriotact

1 posted on 06/16/2003 5:17:12 PM PDT by certify
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To: certify
In the news either today or yesterday, Dean basically mocked Graham and is nicely but bluntly implying his canidacy is dead. Something to the effect of , he's got single digit points in the polls in all the states that he can't have single digit points in to be a 1st tier canidate.
2 posted on 06/16/2003 5:39:18 PM PDT by Sonny M ("oderint dum metuant")
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To: Sonny M
Feds admit Patriot Act powers used to investigate non-terror crimes
3 posted on 06/16/2003 5:46:17 PM PDT by certify
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To: Sonny M
Patriot Act of 2001 casts wide net

By Frank J. Murray

Long-sought details have begun to emerge from the Justice Department on how anti-terrorist provisions of the USA Patriot Act were applied in nonterror investigations, just as battle lines are being drawn on proposed new powers in a Patriot Act II.
Overall, the policy now allows evidence to be used for prosecuting common criminals even when obtained under extraordinary anti-terrorism powers and information-sharing between intelligence agencies and the FBI.
"We would use whatever tools are available to us, within reason, to prosecute violations of any law," Justice Department spokesman Bryan Sierra said in the wake of his department's massive report to Congress describing how the USA Patriot Act is being implemented.
The information was a response to doubts, not from outspoken civil liberties groups, but from Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., Wisconsin Republican and the House Judiciary Committee chairman who publicly pushed for its speedy 337-79 House passage.
"We had something to do with encouraging Chairman Sensenbrenner to express our concerns," said Timothy Edgar, American Civil Liberties Union legislative counsel. The ACLU spearheaded opposition to sections that could let the government obtain vast amounts of information that infringe on constitutional rights.
"It's clear that the problems of 9/11 were the result of not analyzing information we had already collected. Creating more hay to search through the haystack is not an effective way to find the needle," Mr. Edgar said in an interview.
"It's impossible for anyone to make the case that our civil liberties were the problem," agreed Lee Tien, staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco.
Key objections include authorizing FBI agents to monitor mosques, which the Justice Department said was done only by 20 percent of FBI's 45 field offices; access to business records, which they say includes files at libraries and bookstores; and expanding CIA influence over domestic intelligence by authorizing the agency to request individual surveillance.
The Justice Department takes the position that grand juries have long had the power to subpoena bookstore and library records, and that the Patriot Act merely expanded that authority to anti-terror and foreign intelligence probes.
Mr. Tien said the Patriot Act corrected a general belief that the long-standing Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was restricted to terrorist activity.
"It is now much easier to use FISA surveillance in an investigation for a law-enforcement purpose," he said, but he added that authorities rarely cross that line.
Without acknowledging such objections, Attorney General John Ashcroft told the House Judiciary Committee in an appearance Thursday to consult on guidelines for future investigations that September 11 proved the FBI must prevent crime, and not just wait for new outrages.
But Mr. Ashcroft always was emphatic about the law's purpose and on Oct. 25, 2001, told the U.S. Mayors Conference that he supported applying to terrorists Robert Kennedy's stated policy to arrest organized crime figures for "spitting on the sidewalk" if need be.
"We will use every available statute. We will seek every prosecutorial advantage," Mr. Ashcroft said that day before the Patriot Act was signed into law. On June 5 he asked that those powers be expanded.
More changes were expected to follow Justice Department negotiations with House Judiciary Committee staffers scheduled for last week, but the recent revelations showed that information gathered under the law — by secret warrant or compulsory disclosures — will be used for nonterrorist prosecutions as well.
The committee's ranking Democrat, John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, said he hoped the meetings would allow better analysis of the complex subject than each member's having five minutes each to quiz Mr. Ashcroft.
The complexity of the 342-page USA Patriot Act would be difficult to overstate since it modified 15 existing laws to:
•Expand the capability to obtain warrants and conduct searches without disclosing them immediately.
•Expand DNA collection to include any violent crime.
•Allow Internet monitoring.
•Mandate access to "business records" that include librarian and bookstore files.
•Restrict lawsuits to keep from bankrupting airlines whose planes were hijacked September 11.
•Compensate survivors of more than 3,000 people killed that day.
Many provisions are now planned to expire in October 2005, although evidence obtained now may be used later. Some provisions are yet to go into effect, including aspects requiring fuller identification of "financial-transaction" customers, which takes full force Oct. 1.
Software, like that sold by Innovative Systems of Pittsburgh, helps firms in 25 finance-related industries covered by the law to compare millions of customer records with thousands of entries on federal government blacklists. "Suspicious Activity Reports" will be required to the Treasury Department from car dealers, insurance companies, investment brokers, lenders, and real-estate firms.
"The only companies out doing that today are banks. I'll bet a lot of places don't even know they'll have to do it," said Charles Schardong, Innovative's product manager, who said private companies shield their customers' privacy.
One example of detail in the law — whose full formal name is Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT) Act of 2001 — is that Acting Assistant Attorney General Jamie E. Brown used 60 closely spaced pages to respond to 18 pages of questions on civil liberties issues. In addition, answers containing classified information were filed separately.
Among other things, the DOJ revealed it obtained 113 secret emergency search or electronic-surveillance authorizations in the year after September 11, compared with 47 in the 23 years before that attack. The law lowered the standard for such intrusions from terrorism being "the purpose" to being only "a significant purpose."
Other replies on statistical questions about the law's implementation:
•One of the 15 requests to seize material without notifying the owners was refused. A court ruled photographs of items in storage would suffice, so seizure was unjustified.
•Justice refused to say how many persons were detained as "material witnesses" or identify any, but said that as of January the total was "fewer than 50" and that most were freed in less than 90 days.
•Six hundred accounts encompassing $124 million in assets were frozen and 70 "terrorist financing" investigations led to 23 convictions or guilty pleas.
•Information obtained from computer-service providers was used in investigations unrelated to foreign terrorism. They included a kidnaping, a bomb threat against a school, a hacker who extorted his victim, and a lawyer who defrauded clients.
•The FBI hired 264 translators "to support counterterrorism efforts," including 121 Arabic speakers and 25 who speak Farsi.
•Telephone voicemails were obtained through search warrants rather than wiretap orders "in a variety of criminal cases ... [including] foreign and domestic terrorists." The law also opens to seizure e-mail stored on a provider's server.
•Pen-register devices that record strokes on a telephone keypad or a computer keyboard identified conspirators in the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.
•More than 8.4 million FBI files were provided to the State Department, and 83,000 records on wanted persons went to the Immigration and Naturalization Service along with data on detainees held in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
"In our judgment the government success in preventing another catastrophic attack on the American homeland in the 20 months since September 11, 2001, would have been much more difficult, if not impossibly so, without the USA Patriot Act," wrote Ms. Brown, who directs congressional affairs for the Justice Department.
Mr. Edgar, her opposite number at the ACLU, largely dismissed the bulky reply that provided answers his organization had long demanded.
"I'd say the response was dismissive and cavalier. It provided some information without answering the basic question: 'Are we safer from terrorism?' " said Mr. Edgar, adding that the impact of the Patriot Act appears exaggerated.
"They say we've used this section or that section but don't say why, how, or whether it was important or what would have happened if they had not used that section or whether it was used to prevent terrorism," Mr. Edgar said.

4 posted on 06/16/2003 5:49:50 PM PDT by certify
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To: certify
Feds admit Patriot Act powers used to investigate non-terror crimes.

Was it Dick Armey or Hastert that wanted to put limits on the patriot act in regards to how it could be used. I know the debate was was that drugs and weapons can and often are involved in the financing of terror operations and that using the patriot act on them, could lead them to tracking cells.

I like the patriot act, but it was a little hurried, I don't think parts of it will stand up, Scalia will go bezerk on some of these provisions if they come before him for non-terror reasons.

Its ironic that Graham wrote parts of the act, considering that his base despises the patriot act, looks like the "Floridian swiss army knife" is going to get rusted and blunted.

5 posted on 06/16/2003 5:51:06 PM PDT by Sonny M ("oderint dum metuant")
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To: certify
Robert Kennedy's stated policy to arrest organized crime figures for "spitting on the sidewalk" if need be.

Spoken just like the man who was the councle for the McCarthy hearings, who wrote up the guidelines, wrote up McCarthy's questions, helped design the set-up and advised the commitee on how to run the hearings.

6 posted on 06/16/2003 6:03:39 PM PDT by Sonny M ("oderint dum metuant")
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To: certify
"It eases the restrictions on "sneak and peek" searches, which can be done without notifying the person who is targeted."

If this was the ONLY reason to object to the 'Patriot' Act, it would be more than enough.

This legislation is an abomination, and I find it as funny as can be that part of Graham's audience is being kept from the knowledge that Sen. Bob was a CO-AUTHOR!!



7 posted on 06/16/2003 6:43:11 PM PDT by ApesForEvolution ("The only way evil triumphs is if good men do nothing" E. Burke)
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To: certify
I'm pleased to think that the "patriot act" may become a campaign issue in 2004.

It should be...

8 posted on 06/16/2003 6:48:18 PM PDT by Brian S
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To: certify
No matter how much lipstick you put on this fascist pig legislation, it's still an ugly fascist pig.

Had the EX-TRIMPOTUS signed this into law shortly after a disaster, 'contemporary' 'conservatives' would still be lacing him for it.

Much like the hysterical Constitution-bashing legislation that was marked up well before the OKC bombing that the EX-TRIMPOTUS signed within days of the bombing.

Friggin incredible, sickening and utterly sad that the highest elected officials in BOTH major parties betray their oath with such audacity.
9 posted on 06/16/2003 6:55:54 PM PDT by ApesForEvolution ("The only way evil triumphs is if good men do nothing" E. Burke)
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To: certify
10 posted on 06/16/2003 9:03:58 PM PDT by ApesForEvolution ("The only way evil triumphs is if good men do nothing" E. Burke)
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