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Date Posted: 22:22:54 06/09/05 Thu
Author: KathyT
Subject: The President leads the bleating sheep.... baa baa baa

I remember Norman Vincent Peale's words of truth:

American's used to roar like lions for liberty. Now they bleat like sheep for security.

Today President Bush is leading the bleating flock, luring them into the fence.


COLUMBUS, Ohio - President Bush, facing efforts by some in his own party to scale back the post-Sept. 11 Patriot Act, says it has made America safer and should be made permanent.

"The Patriot Act closed dangerous gaps in America's law enforcement and intelligence capabilities, gaps the terrorists exploited when they attacked us on September the 11th," Bush said.

Lawmakers responded to the 2001 attacks by overwhelmingly approving the law 45 days later. It allowed expanded surveillance of terror suspects, increased use of material witness warrants to hold suspects incommunicado and permitted secret proceedings in immigration cases.

Now, more than a dozen provisions are set to expire. Those provisions, among other things, provide authority for nationwide search warrants, enable the FBI and intelligence agencies to share information about terrorism cases and gave the FBI the power to obtain records in terrorism-related cases from entities such as libraries.

During Bush' 2004 re-election campaign, he made preserving the law a common refrain, but he has rarely spoken of it since. His renewed focus came as Congress has begun working on the act's renewal amid fresh criticisms � from members of both parties � that it undermines basic freedoms.

Bush pressured Congress to make the expiring provisions permanent. His administration also is seeking greater powers for the FBI to subpoena records in terrorism investigations without the approval of a judge or grand jury.

"My message to Congress is clear: Terrorist threats against us will not expire at the end of the year and neither should the protections of the Patriot Act," Bush told more than 100 law enforcement officers.

The president credited the law with helping to bring federal charges against more than 400 suspects � more than half of whom have been convicted � and to break up terror cells in New York, Oregon, Virginia and Florida.

He spoke at the Ohio Patrol Training Academy to highlight the case of a Columbus man, Iyman Faris, who was accused of plotting attacks on a New York bridge and a Midwest shopping mall but was tracked down with the help of the Patriot Act.

Bush said Faris met Osama bin Laden in 2000 at an al-Qaida training camp in Afghanistan. Later, he received instructions from top terror leader Khalid Shaikh Mohammed to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge. Now, because of the Patriot Act, Bush said, Faris has provided information about al-Qaida and is serving a 20-year prison sentence.

On Tuesday, the Senate Intelligence Committee approved revisions to the law that would give the FBI the expanded administrative subpoena powers the Bush administration has been seeking.

But much of the debate in Congress so far has focused on possible limits to the law.

Sens. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., want to tighten standards for the law's so-called "sneak and peek" warrants issued without immediate notification of the target and for "roving" wiretaps, and to exempt libraries from provisions that allow FBI expanded access to records.

The administration has warned that the Craig-Durbin bill would draw a Bush veto. The president did not repeat that threat, but he singled out the roving wiretap as an "especially important" tool that has been used successfully for years against drug dealers and others.

Bush also sought to defend the law by citing Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein (news, bio, voting record), D-Calif., who said she has looked into the administration's use of the Patriot Act and found no abuses.

"Remember that the next time you hear someone make an unfair criticism of this important, good law," Bush said.

Lisa Graves, the ACLU's senior counsel for legislative strategy, said the lack of a documented case of abuse doesn't mean the law doesn't violate civil liberties. She said the Justice Department's inspector general reported that 7,000 people have complained of abuse and countless others don't even know they've been subjected to a search because the law requires that they be kept secret.

The ACLU wants the government to show evidence of a connection to terrorist activity before being allowed to search records. (my comment: how strange: the ACLU actually backing something good!)

How much safer do you feel with this law in place? IMO, tt brings fear, not safety. I recall the words of Patrick Henry once again: Give me liberty or give me death!

Well said, Mr. Henry!

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