Thursday, November 17, 2005

Crunch Time for Real Patriots

You know that refreshing stance taken by moderate Congressional Republicans, the one that stood up to the Administration? Well, it's over. In the conference between the House and Senate versions of the Patriot Act, the regime won and the Bill of Rights lost. According to the Washinton Post, the final bill will be voted on by both houses as early as this week.

House and Senate negotiators reached a tentative agreement yesterday on revisions to the USA Patriot Act that would limit some of the government's powers while requiring the Justice Department to provide a better accounting of its secret requests for information on ordinary citizens.

But the agreement would leave intact some of the most controversial provisions of the anti-terrorism law, such as government access to library and bookstore records in terrorism probes, and would extend only limited new rights to the targets of such searches.

The deal would make permanent 14 Patriot Act provisions that were set to expire at the end of the year. Three other measures -- including one allowing law enforcement agents access to bookstore and public library records -- would be extended for seven years, or three years longer than the Senate had agreed to. The House initially extended the provisions for 10 years but later voted to accept the Senate's four-year extension.

Also extended for seven years is a provision allowing roving wiretaps that follow an individual who may use multiple means of communication, rather than targeting a single phone line. The agreement also extends for seven years a provision of a separate intelligence law passed last year that allows federal investigators to track an individual not connected to a foreign government but suspected of operating as a "lone wolf" terrorist.

The compromise would weaken a block of House-approved death penalty provisions that had elicited concern in the Senate and in legal circles. In the event that a jury could not agree to impose the death penalty on a convicted terrorist, House Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) had hoped to empower prosecutors to impanel a new jury. The deal also excludes a House proposal to allow a death penalty for terrorist offenses that "create grave risk of death."
[Emphasis added]

Once again, the Congress has decided that the Great War on Terrorism trumps civil liberties. Apparently keeping the sheeple scared is more important than keeping the people free.

I hope a lot of folks realize that this isn't just some abstract variation on the "if you haven't done anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about" argument. I also hope a lot of folks let their congress critters know that these "compromises" are unacceptable and that if this bill passes, it will be hung around the necks of everyone who votes for it.


Blogger Elmo said...

I hope your watching C-SPAN tonight Diane. The debate on the budget in the House and Senate is historic!

7:51 PM  
Blogger scout prime said...

Hey Elmo thanks for the heads up on debate.

Sad day for the bill of rights

9:47 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home