Friday, March 09, 2007

Peter King Agrees on Trampling Your Rights and It's Happening

Peter King is a staunch defender of the so-called "Patriot Act." He and has-been former democrat Ed Koch even wrote an op-ed defending the legislation that allows for the abuse of our most sacred rights as US citizens.
King and Koch wrote "Gore accused the president and his attorney general of "constant violations of civil liberties," "putting our country in grave and unnecessary danger" and "using the war against terrorism for partisan advantage." His attacks centered on three parts of the Patriot Act: Sec. 214, which allows federal agents to delay giving suspects notice after a search has been carried out; Sec. 215, which allows searches of medical, business and library records of suspected terrorists; and Sec. 218, which allows surveillance of cell phones and Internet communications.
Before addressing these specifics, let's put Gore's case in its proper perspective by citing Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, who recently said she hadn't found a "single abuse of the Patriot Act" - and when she asked the ACLU for any instance of abuse, was told, "they had none." Similarly, Sen. Joe Biden, D-DE, said criticism of the Patriot Act "is both misinformed and overblown" and the Justice Department has "done a pretty good job in terms of implementing" the law.

"* The delayed notification in Sec. 213 was already the law in cases involving organized crime, narcotics and pornography. It makes common sense because it would be absurd to inform a suspected mobster or a terrorist during the course of an investigation that a listening device had been installed in his home or office.

* Sec. 215 - the much-feared "assault against librarians" - has not been used even once. Nonetheless, we strongly believe this is a weapon that must remain in the prosecutor's arsenal. There could well be cases, for instance, when it would be critical to learn whether a suspected terrorist is reading books on explosives or the structural design of office buildings, landmark sites, bridges or tunnels. It should also be noted that library records were instrumental in tracking down such murderers as the Zodiac killer and the Unabomber.

* Sec. 218 merely gives federal agents authority to conduct surveillance of cell phones and the Internet to the same extent they can surveil rotary phones. It would be foolhardy to let terrorists use the technology of modern telecommunications without fear of being detected.

The bottom line is that the criticisms by Gore and the other critics are shameful and irresponsible. Of course we gave our government added power in the aftermath of 9/11. These powers are essential to confront a new and deadly threat.

We are also well aware that all police powers are susceptible to abuse. That risk exists, however, every time we give a law-enforcement office a loaded weapon. It is the job of the legislatures and the courts to guard against such abuses. Responsible criticism is essential to safeguarding our citizens against governmental abuse."

So where is King now that ABC is reporting that there has been wide-spread abuse of the "Patriot Act."

" The FBI repeatedly failed to follow the strict guidelines of the Patriot Act when its agents took advantage of a new provision allowing the FBI to obtain phone and financial records without a court order, according to a report to be made public Friday by the Justice Department's Inspector General.
The report, in classified and unclassified versions, remains closely held, but Washington officials who have seen it tell ABC News it documents "numerous lapses" and describe it as "scathing" and "not a pretty picture for the FBI.

"The officials say the inspector general found the FBI underreported by at least 20 percent the use of the controversial provision, known as National Security Letters, NSLs, in required disclosures to Congress.
The Patriot Act gave FBI agents the ability to demand telephone, bank, credit card and library records by issuing an administrative letter, bypassing the need to seek a warrant from a federal judge.
In a report last year, the Justice Department said there were 9,254 NSL requests on 3,501 persons in the calendar year 2005.
Some officials say the actual number is substantially higher.
The inspector general's report reportedly found "systemic" failures in the issuance, tracking and accountability of the controversial NSLs, although a Justice Department official said there was no finding of "willful or criminal misconduct."

But wait, King's hero gave the FBI an out (h/t Crook and Liars)

"Lest we forget President Bush issued one of those infamous signing statements back in February 2006 when he signed the Patriot Act reauthorization, effectively nullifying the provisions Congress agreed upon so that these kinds of abuses wouldn't occur. Will that be their legal defense? I think so.

When President Bush signed the reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act this month, he included an addendum saying that he did not feel obliged to obey requirements that he inform Congress about how the FBI was using the act's expanded police powers."

Will King stand up for your rights or continue to defend Bush and his corrupt administration?

You can bet it's gonna be Bush.


1 comment:

Bill Corrigan said...

The Patriot Act, along with many other knee-jerk, ill prescribed legislation that has been imposed upon the American people must be revamped or revoked. We need to get back to a place where the U.S. Government oppresses the American people LESS than the threat of terrorism does. End the Republican profiteering!

Best,
Bill Corrigan