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Patriot Act

  1. Jul 21, 2005 #1
    Hey Pengwuino -

    Did you catch the news today about the Patriot Act debate? It's mostly Republicans that want to keep watching what you're checking out at the library.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 22, 2005 #2

    loseyourname

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    Sections 206 and 215, the roving wiretaps and business records seizures, were the only provisions not extended indefinitely. They were set to sunset again in ten years. There was also an amendment added stating that the director of the FBI has to personally approve any request for business records, in addition to the court approval already needed. It should be noted that both of these powers that people are so worried about the FBI having were already in existence for racketeering and drug trafficking cases. If 'they' really wanted you that badly, they could have gotten you before the Patriot Act.

    Interestingly enough, the zodiac killer was caught in part by a search of book records. He was leaving a quotation at each of his murders from a very obscure Scottish occult poet. Well, guess who was reading this guy's books? Just in case you think the provision is completely useless.
     
  4. Jul 22, 2005 #3

    SOS2008

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    Though this is off topic, and probably deserves to be a separate thread, there are several questions to ask on this matter. First, British laws make the Patriot Act look pacifist, yet they could not protect their citizens from the recent bombings there. Second, why can't law enforcement agencies operate within the norm of warrants to access records of any kind, but only after establishing reasonable cause? And third, and most important, why not address the roots of terrorism rather than limiting our own civil rights and liberties? No Big Brother police state for me--I'd rather take my chances with terrorists outside my country.

    <Or rephased as terrorists that are not my own government.>
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2005
  5. Jul 22, 2005 #4
    I think it was Benjamin Franklin who said/wrote "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety".
     
  6. Jul 23, 2005 #5

    loseyourname

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    Yes, it does deserve its own thread. I'll PM Evo and ask her to move these posts.

    There are three areas where this comes into play. The first two are the roving wiretaps and business records seizures. The others are direct searches of people's homes, for which Patriot gives law enforcement the ability to do a delayed-notice search warrant; that is, search now, inform the person that you had a warrant later. The reason for all three of these is secrecy. We had these powers for drug trafficking and racketeering cases because organized criminals are notorious for destroying evidence as soon as they know they are investigated. The powers were extended to terrorism cases for the same reason.

    Circumvention of the grand jury to go straight to a judge for the warrant (or not establishing "reasonable cause," as you put it) was already customary in terrorism cases. FISA has always been responsible for authorizing investigative tools to be used, in cases on foreign soil. The only thing Patriot changed was that now the FBI could obtain orders from FISA to investigate domestic cases, rather than go through a grand jury (the avenue needed to exercise the above-mentioned powers for drug trafficking and racketeering cases). Presumably, the reason for this is twofold:

    1) There is greater speed, again giving less time to the people under investigation to destroy evidence.

    2) Allowing the CIA and FBI to obtain orders from the same entity (FISA) further breaks down the traditional barrier between the two organizations, which was one of the primary purposes of the Patriot Act. If you remember, a failure to communicate between the FBI and CIA was one of the reasons 9/11 happened. This helps to ensure that they all have access to the same information and will know when their investigations overlap (they often do in terrorism cases).

    First, I'm going to address the accusation that these provisions limit our civil rights and liberties. The obvious thing to point out is that the government as a whole has no powers due to these provisions that it did not have before them. Organizational structure has changed, in two ways:

    1) Now the FBI can use powers it previously had only in drug trafficking and racketeering cases in terrorism cases.

    2) Now the FBI can obtain orders for domestic terrorism investigations from the same entity that gives orders to the CIA for foreign terrorism investigations.

    Given these pieces of information, I'm going to rephrase your question thus:

    Why not address the roots of terrorism rather than reorganize our investigative agencies and extend their powers to new domains?

    My answer to that is another question: Why can't we do both? If there are obvious deficiencies in the powers of our investigative agencies (and perhaps more importantly, in their ability to cooperate) that led to 9/11 being possible, we should address those. We should also address the conditions that led to an organization like Al Qaeda coming into existence in the first place. There is no reason why the two have to be mutually exclusive.

    That was the thinking before. The FBI didn't need these powers and they didn't need to be able to cooperate with the CIA because the terrorists were in other countries. Well, guess what? That thinking led to us being attacked, because the terrorists were not in other countries.

    Rhetorical hyperbole and you know it, SOS. There is nothing in the Patriot Act that gives the FBI the power to bomb you.
     
  7. Jul 23, 2005 #6

    selfAdjoint

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    I believe this is not so. Before, even with terrorism and RICOH prosecutions, there was at least some judicial oversight to searches. Admittedly it was only a fig leaf in some cases, but the Patriot Act did away with even that.
     
  8. Jul 23, 2005 #7

    DM

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    loseyourname
    Interesting. Do you think this inference could have been discovered by Al-Qaeda and hence acted on the premise of a flawed condition in the law?
     
  9. Jul 23, 2005 #8
    I don't know that it's fair to take SOS so literally on this one, loseyourname; obviously she did not mean bombing (and you know it!). Anyway, to get back on topic, my readings on this topic have convinced me that the Patriot Act (and similar legislation in the UK and Australia) presents a severe threat to the civil liberties of the domestic populations of those countries. I have kept abreast of the misuses of the legislation in Australia, but not in the US and UK. So I just did a quick google search using the words 'misuse of patriot act' and here are some of the results.
    From the American Civil Liberties Union:
    Here is a link to the ACLU's concerns about the Patriot Act: http://action.aclu.org/reformthepatriotact/

    And here's an extract from a CBS 8 March 2005 news report (interestingly, a judge ruled that the Patriot Act violates the US Constitution - I have bolded this part of the report for your attention):
    One more source - Cogito describes itself as "...a think tank established at the University of San Francisco in 2001. Created and sustained by concerned individuals, our goal is to promote a greater understanding of current issues and the resolution of them through feasible, sustainable solutions. It is our belief that through research and dialogue more thoughtful individuals are born." Anyone who is interested in research into matters like the consequences of the Patriot Act to Privacy, Civil Liberties, etc may want to check out the links on Cogito's webpage http://www.usfca.edu/clubs/cogito/patriotact.htm
     
  10. Jul 23, 2005 #9

    DM

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    I'm not sure about America but certainly in Europe the Patriot Act as it is right now is defaming and violating the European human rights. I'm pretty sure that a new bill was passed by Charles Clark empowering the government to wiretap phones and computers. I'll try and get some references.
     
  11. Jul 23, 2005 #10

    Pengwuino

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    Why didnt you just pm me this lol
     
  12. Jul 23, 2005 #11
    LOL. Actually, this post was originally in the supreme court nominee thread, where you and I were talking about which party erodes civil liberties more.

    Someone moved it. I was surprised, too; sorry if you felt singled out being called to the front of the room at the beginning of a thread.

    Anyway, what do you think? Are the republicans guilty of eroding civil liberties?
     
  13. Jul 23, 2005 #12

    Pengwuino

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    There all guilty. Republicans just tend to take away the liberties i dont care about... i think thats why we all vote for who we vote for haha.

    In this case, i hate hte library thus, i dont care :tongue2:
     
  14. Jul 24, 2005 #13

    SOS2008

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    Okay, when you disappear, we won't search for you. :tongue:

    Along the lines of the British, and just how effective laws such as this are, here is one example. Now according to the Patriot Act, people must provide various forms of ID to purchase property in the U.S. But since the ID is never checked for validity, it's worthless. Here in the southwest, illegals (first clue is they need translators) are buying property left and right without a hitch.

    The idea is to stop terrorism. So how about we secure our borders, implement a meaningful system for checking ID, and start working on peace in the Middle East (beginning with an exit strategy from Iraq)? Let's get our priorities in order, and stop wasting time and effort on this transparently fascist legislation.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2005
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