Patriot Act, the sequel
Unsigned editorial, USA
February 11, 2003
Someone in the Justice Department clearly wants to preserve our most
cherished civil liberties.
Last week, that individual leaked a bill secretly drafted by Attorney
General John Ashcroft's staff to the Center for Public Integrity. "The
Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003" is a chilling sequel to the
USA Patriot Act, passed shortly after Sept.11, 2001. It's already been
dubbed "Patriot Act II."
The draft legislation would reduce judicial oversight of surveillance,
authorize secret arrests, create new death penalties and allow the
government to revoke the citizenship of any American who is a member
of—or gives material support to —a group designated as a "terrorist
organization" by Ashcroft.
Charles Lewis, executive director of the Center for Public Integrity,
speculates that the Bush administration may have planned to introduce this
legislation after another terrorist attack or in the middle of a war with
Congress, moreover, was not consulted. Ashcroft's office only sent copies
to House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Vice President Dick Cheney on Jan. 10,
Secret arrests? Expatriation because you belong to a suspicious political
group? Unchecked surveillance? These are instruments of repression, used
by totalitarian states. They are why American soldiers have fought—and
died —in wars against fascism and communism.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., warned that "Patriot Act II" amounts to
"little more than the institution of a police state." We call upon our
congressional delegation, as well as Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara
Boxer, to vigorously challenge any such attempt to undermine
The above editorial is from the San Francisco Chronicle, February 11, 2003.
Copyright 2003 SF Chronicle.