Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Patriot II Tough Anti-Terrorism Legislation
No, it isn't Patriot II. It is just an effort to strengthen our present legislation. Yes siree bob.

Today at the FBI cademy Our President "discussed" homeland (or is that Homeland) security.

" The Patriot Act imposed tough new penalties on terrorists and those who support them. But as the fight against terrorists progressed, we have found areas where more help is required. Under current federal law, there are unreasonable obstacles to investigating and prosecuting terrorism, obstacles that don't exist when law enforcement officials are going after embezzlers or drug traffickers. For the sake of the American people, Congress should change the law, and give law enforcement officials the same tools they have to fight terror that they have to fight other crime. (Applause.)

Here's some examples. Administrative subpoenas, which enable law enforcement officials to obtain certain records quickly, are critical to many investigations. They're used in a wide range of criminal and civil matters, including health care fraud and child abuse cases. Yet, incredibly enough, in terrorism cases, where speed is often of the essence, officials lack the authority to use administrative subpoenas. If we can use these subpoenas to catch crooked doctors, the Congress should allow law enforcement officials to use them in catching terrorists. (Applause.)

Today, people charged with certain crimes, including some drug offenses, are not eligible for bail. But terrorist-related crimes are not on that list. Suspected terrorists could be released, free to leave the country, or worse, before the trial. This disparity in the law makes no sense. If dangerous drug dealers can be held without bail in this way, Congress should allow for the same treatment for accused terrorists. (Applause.)

Let me give you another example. Under existing law, the death penalty applies to many serious crimes that result in death, including sexual abuse and certain drug-related offenses. Some terrorist crimes that result in death do not qualify for capital punishment. Sabotaging a defense installation or a nuclear facility in a way that takes innocent life does not carry the federal death penalty. This kind of technicality should never protect terrorists from the ultimate justice.

These and other measures have long been on the books for other crimes. They have been tested by time, affirmed by the court, and what we are proposing, they are fully consistent with the United States Constitution. (Applause.) "

Jeralyn at TalkLeft begins a discussion of some of these provisions with particular attention to the death penalty. Follow this one. It is clear that the 1600 Crew is trying to downplay this as just a tiny enhancement here and there when nothing could be further from the truth. He said " Members of the Congress agree that we need to close the loopholes -- not every member, but a lot of them agree with that. People in law enforcement are counting on Congress to follow through." as if passing these provisions is just a tiny administrative matter that needs to be handled.

Phone your congress critters at 1-800-839-5276. Phone early. Phone often. Don't let this one slide by.

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