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Even Worse Than The Patriot Act
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Published: 19 years ago
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Even Worse Than The Patriot Act

Even worse than the Patriot Act Rocky Mountain News
February 11, 2003

The Bush administration, it seems, has been quietly preparing a bill that would give it even more sweeping powers to conduct additional wiretaps and electronic surveillance, hold people in secret, limit judicial review of its activities and further clamp down on public information.

The so-called Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003 would expand on the USA Patriot Act. The Justice Department's official explanation is that nothing official or final has been decided. The indications are, however, that this bill is fairly far along.

The bill focuses on "suspected terrorists," a category like "illegal enemy combatant," which is apparently anybody the department identifies as such.

Such suspects could be held without bail on the department's say-so. They could be held for secret immigration proceedings, and their families and lawyers would be barred from using the Freedom of Information Act to learn their whereabouts.

The proposal would create a DNA database of "suspected terrorists," and anybody deemed engaged in suspicious activity would be subject to surveillance and clandestine searches.

The bill would terminate all state consent decrees that prevent state and local law enforcement groups from certain types of intelligence gathering, though many such decrees were signed in response to abusive police surveillance and harassment of antiwar demonstrators and civil rights groups.

If the Domestic Security Enhancement Act comes to Congress, the lawmakers should not let themselves be stampeded as they were with the Patriot Act.

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