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Liberal_Jihad_Cover.jpg Forward USA

Friday, April 22, 2005

The PATRIOT Act is Mostly a Good Law

The emerging expert consensus contradicts the hype.

National Journal’s Stuart Taylor, Jr. is not even remotely a right-wing radical.  As often as not he has been critical of Bush administration policies.  Here’s an excerpt from what he has to report:

“When the Bush administration says it wants to make permanent the freedom-stealing provisions of the PATRIOT Act , they’re telling those of us who believe in privacy, due process, and the right to dissent that it’s time to surrender our freedom .”

So screams the first sentence of a recent fundraising letter from the American Civil Liberties Union. This and countless other overheated attacks—from conservative libertarians and gun-rights activists as well as liberal groups—have scared some 375 local governments and five states into passing anti-PATRIOT Act measures , while sending earnest librarians into a panic about Big Brother snooping into library borrowers’ reading habits.

But consider what the ACLU says when it is seeking to be taken seriously by people who know something about the issues: “Most of the voluminous PATRIOT Act is actually unobjectionable from a civil-liberties point of view, and ... the law makes important changes that give law enforcement agents the tools they need to protect against terrorist attacks.”

That’s right: That was the ACLU talking, in an April 5 press release . To be sure, the release goes on to stress that “a few provisions ... unnecessarily trample civil liberties, and must be revised.” Well, perhaps. And with 16 provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act scheduled to sunset on December 31, it is surely time to give the entire 342-page, 156-section law the careful scrutiny that it has not received from most of the legislators who passed it in October 2001.

Read the whole article in National Journal.

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