To me, the Patriot Act seems to have been a very hasty response that has been abused time and again: indefinite detentions without access to lawyers, use of the expanded wiretap authority for non-terrorism uses, etc. It was a serious warning sign for me when the Ashcroftian DOJ started holding classes on how to use the Patriot Act for non-terror purposes immediately after its passage. Abuses of the law by the government at the expense of our civil rights seems to me as un-American as poo pie.
There seem to be better options – ones that allow the FBI and other law-enforcement to take action against terrorists without cutting into the civil rights of American citizens.
‘During his re-election campaign, Bush repeatedly called the Patriot Act "a powerful tool in the war on terror’’ and urged lawmakers not to weaken or kill it. "Congress needs to make sure law enforcement has the tools necessary to defend the country,’’ he said in August.
'But the law has opponents among both liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans, as well as civil liberties groups, which see its expanded surveillance powers as too intrusive. They also say the law was rushed through Congress without a thorough review.
'Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said those concerns won’t disappear just because Bush won a second term.
‘"This election can’t be spun in terms of a mandate to extend the Patriot Act,’’ Romero said. ``I think we will have a serious debate. Congress is finally going to address what those powers are and how they should be used.’’
‘One bipartisan bill, dubbed the Security and Freedom Assured Act, would tighten standards for issuance of so-called ``sneak and peek’’ warrants – warrants issued without immediate notification of the target – require that "roving’’ wiretaps identify the person or place under surveillance and exempt libraries from parts of the law that allow FBI expanded access to records.
‘"This legislation intends to ensure the liberties of law-abiding individuals are protected in our nation’s fight against terrorism, without in any way impeding that fight,’’ said a prime sponsor, Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho.
‘The Bush administration, however, has threatened to veto that bill if it passes.’[/list]