Thursday, March 02, 2006

No rights have been violated

By F. James Sensenbrenner Jr.
Zero. That's the number of substantiated USA Patriot Act civil liberties violations. Extensive congressional oversight found no violations.
Six reports by the Justice Department's independent inspector general, who is required to solicit and investigate any allegations of abuse, found no violations.
Intense public scrutiny has yet to find a single civil liberty abuse. Despite many challenges, no federal court has declared unconstitutional any of the Patriot Act provisions Congress is renewing.
Building upon this stellar record, congressional negotiators added more than 30 civil liberty safeguards not included in current law to ensure that the Patriot Act's authorities would not be abused in the future. Remarkably, that's still not enough for some.
So what has the Patriot Act done? It has been a tremendous asset in helping thwart other terrorist attacks. The Justice Department and other agencies have properly utilized these new tools to detect, disrupt and dismantle terrorist cells in New York, Virginia and Oregon before they strike. Since 9/11, the Justice Department has charged hundreds of defendants, of whom more than half have been convicted or pleaded guilty, as a result of terrorism-related investigations.
Most important, this renewal would permanently tear down the pre-9/11 "wall" that prevented the FBI and CIA from communicating. This law recognizes the vital importance of sharing information to "connect the dots." The Patriot Act has made it much more difficult for America's enemies to live openly among us as they plot to murder innocent Americans.
Regrettably, some criticizing the government for weak port security tried to block the Patriot Act renewal, which helps law enforcement strengthen port security. The law also combats terrorism financing networks and enhances penalties for attacks against railroads and mass transit. In short, the Patriot Act is an essential tool in the war on terror.
We must never forget we are a nation at war with an enemy determined to extinguish our nation, our values and our civil liberties. The Patriot Act has kept us safer and has not violated anyone's civil rights. It deserves to be renewed.
F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., R-Wis., is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
The Nay Sayers
10 votes Against
Akaka (D-HI), Nay
Bingaman (D-NM),Nay
Byrd (D-WV),Nay
Feingold (D-WI), Nay
Harkin (D-IA), Nay
Jeffords (I-VT), Nay
Leahy (D-VT), Nay
Levin (D-MI), Nay
Murray (D-WA), Nay
Wyden (D-OR), Nay

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