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=============================== NEWS FROM THE LIBERTARIAN PARTY 2600 Virginia Avenue, NW, Suite 100 Washington DC 20037 World Wide Web: http://www.LP.org =============================== For release: March 6, 2003 =============================== For additional information: George Getz, Communications Director Phone: (202) 333-0008 E-Mail: pressreleases@hq.LP.org ===============================
Sequel to USA Patriot Act is every tyrant's dream, Libertarians say
WASHINGTON, DC -- Here's great news for everyone who supported the USA Patriot Act, Libertarians say: The Justice Department has secretly drafted follow-up legislation that would allow the government to make secret arrests, create a vast new DNA database of "suspected terrorists" and even strip Americans of their citizenship and deport them.
"If you liked the Patriot Act, you're going to love the sequel," said George Getz, Libertarian Party communications director. "Patriot II offers awesome government power, rapidly disappearing freedom, and an action-packed war on the Constitution. You'll be sitting on the edge of your seat as your liberties are stripped away."
The Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003 (DSEA) ? dubbed "Patriot II" because of its similarities to the USA Patriot Act ? was secretly written by the Justice Department in January and has not yet been introduced in Congress. A draft of the legislation was leaked recently to the Center for Public Integrity and posted on its website.
"The original Patriot Act got rave reviews from authoritarians everywhere," Getz noted. "Rogue FBI agents conducting 'sneak-and-peak searches,' an e-mail spy scheme named Carnivore, secret deportations ? this legislation was every petty tyrant's dream.
"It opened to a packed House ? and Senate ? in October 2001 and got a nearly unanimous 'thumbs up.' Clearly there's a market out there for less freedom, and Washington is rushing to cash in with a sequel."
The plot for Patriot II: A group of unscrupulous politicians in a large, Western democracy capitalize on a terrorist attack in order to vastly expand their powers. They embark on an effort to convince their subjects that by surrendering their freedom they will be protected from terrorists and other criminals.
Working along with a "Department of Justice," they subvert the Constitution by secretly crafting legislation that allows the government to:
* Make secret arrests, overturning a federal court decision requiring the government to identify persons detained in the 9/11 investigation.
* Issue secret subpoenas, and jail people who reveal to anyone except their attorney that they are the subject of a secret investigation.
* Strip citizens of their citizenship for associating with a group designated by the attorney general as a "terrorist organization," even if the individual's conduct is legal.
* Allow the attorney general to deport any foreigner, even a permanent legal resident, whose presence he deems "inconsistent with national security."
* Create a database of DNA collected from "suspected terrorists" and from non-citizens suspected of ordinary crimes.
* Conduct a wiretap for 15 days without a judge's approval, and monitor an individual's Internet and chat room visits for 48 hours without a court order.
* Overturn local court decrees that restrict police from illegal spying.
* Weaken the Freedom of Information Act to prevent journalists from learning who is being held in police custody.
Though Patriot II is expected to be a hit with politicians and much of the public, not everyone will be buying a ticket, Getz predicted.
"Libertarians and other freedom-loving Americans have panned Patriot II for obvious reasons," he said. "It's burdened by the same clich?d cast of characters as the original ? a devious attorney general, an opportunistic president, and pandering politicians who hoodwink people into surrendering their freedom.
"Will anyone fall for this story line a second time?"
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