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Senate Wises Up and Blocks Extension of "Patriot" Act

26 X World Champs

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Stace said:
I just read this story....good on the Senate!!
The times sure have changed! Do you think one year ago Republican Senators would have voted with Democrats to defeat a bill strongly backed by Bush? Here's how the vote brokedown:

The 52-47 roll call by which the Senate voted to reject reauthorization of several provisions of the USA Patriot Act.

On this vote, a "yes" vote was a vote to end the filibuster and a "no" vote was a vote to continue a filibuster.

Voting "yes" were 2 Democrats and 50 Republicans.

Voting "no" were 41 Democrats, 5 Republicans and one independent.

Democrats Yes

Johnson, S.D.; Nelson, Neb.


Democrats No

Akaka, Hawaii; Baucus, Mont.; Bayh, Ind.; Biden, Del.; Bingaman, N.M.; Boxer, Calif.; Byrd, W.Va.; Cantwell, Wash.; Carper, Del.; Clinton, N.Y.; Conrad, N.D.; Corzine, N.J.; Dayton, Minn.; Dorgan, N.D.; Durbin, Ill.; Feingold, Wis.; Feinstein, Calif.; Harkin, Iowa; Inouye, Hawaii; Kennedy, Mass.; Kerry, Mass.; Kohl, Wis.; Landrieu, La.; Lautenberg, N.J.; Leahy, Vt.; Levin, Mich.; Lieberman, Conn.; Lincoln, Ark.; Mikulski, Md.; Murray, Wash.; Nelson, Fla.; Obama, Ill.; Pryor, Ark.; Reed, R.I.; Reid, Nev.; Rockefeller, W.Va.; Salazar, Colo.; Sarbanes, Md.; Schumer, N.Y.; Stabenow, Mich.; Wyden, Ore.

Democrats Not Voting

Dodd, Conn.

Republicans Yes

Alexander, Tenn.; Allard, Colo.; Allen, Va.; Bennett, Utah; Bond, Mo.; Brownback, Kan.; Bunning, Ky.; Burns, Mont.; Burr, N.C.; Chafee, R.I.; Chambliss, Ga.; Coburn, Okla.; Cochran, Miss.; Coleman, Minn.; Collins, Maine; Cornyn, Texas; Crapo, Idaho; DeMint, S.C.; DeWine, Ohio; Dole, N.C.; Domenici, N.M.; Ensign, Nev.; Enzi, Wyo.; Graham, S.C.; Grassley, Iowa; Gregg, N.H.; Hatch, Utah; Hutchison, Texas; Inhofe, Okla.; Isakson, Ga.; Kyl, Ariz.; Lott, Miss.; Lugar, Ind.; Martinez, Fla.; McCain, Ariz.; McConnell, Ky.; Roberts, Kan.; Santorum, Pa.; Sessions, Ala.; Shelby, Ala.; Smith, Ore.; Snowe, Maine; Specter, Pa.; Stevens, Alaska; Talent, Mo.; Thomas, Wyo.; Thune, S.D.; Vitter, La.; Voinovich, Ohio; Warner, Va.

Republicans No

Craig, Idaho; Frist, Tenn.; Hagel, Neb.; Murkowski, Alaska; Sununu, N.H.

Others No

Jeffords, Vt.
Source: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051216/ap_on_go_co/senate_rollvote_patriot_act_1
 

FinnMacCool

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Can you point to where I said YOU were a Democrat? You DID support thier not wanting to make it permanent, but if it is SO BAD why have it for another minute, hence my question if it is as bad as Democrats, or yourself, say it is why not end it right now, every provision.
Who knows?

Why so touchy? And why get rid of it if it has, as all reports show, prevented further terrorist attacks?
What reports
How have you personally had your rights infringed upon by the Patriot Act?
I haven't. . .or at least as far I know I haven't. I don't know about you, but I don't the idea that its in my gov'ts legal right to spy on me. What about you?
 

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Trajan Octavian Titus said:
Three questions have you had your civil rights violated by the patriot act, do you know anyone who has had their rights violated by the patriot act, and have you heard anywhere of peoples rights being violated by the patriot act?


Brandon Mayfield and Tariq Ramadan would disagree with you.
 

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Stinger said:
Can you point to where I said YOU were a Democrat? You DID support thier not wanting to make it permanent, but if it is SO BAD why have it for another minute, hence my question if it is as bad as Democrats, or yourself, say it is why not end it right now, every provision.
Oh..so are these people Democrats too? They voted for the filibuster:
Republicans No

Craig, Idaho; Frist, Tenn.; Hagel, Neb.; Murkowski, Alaska; Sununu, N.H.

Others No

Jeffords, Vt.
 

Pacridge

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Stinger said:
This applies equally to domestic search warrants signed by local courts. Should we get rid of them too. The search warrants issued under the Patriot Act are issued under the FISC and reviewed by the congress after the fact. We have no evidence, not a shred, that it has been abused.



There is quite a bit of judical oversite. And everytime it has been reviewed by the courts it has been found to be constitutional.

That certainly sounds good, too bad it's not true. In Doe v. Ashcroft and Humanitarian Law Project v. Ashcroft the PA was found to be unconstitutional by the courts. I believe one was in violation of the 4th amendment and the other due process. Can't remember which one violated which.
 
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And your plan to stop terrorist from acting here is exactly what? What is your specific object to the patriot act and can you show where it has been abused?

Conversely, can you show how the Patriot Act might have prevented 9/11, or any of a number of other realistic terrorist scenarios? The fact is, it wouldn't. So why do we need it?
 

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Pacridge said:
That's certainly sounds good, too bad it's not true. In Doe v. Ashcroft and Humanitarian Law Project v. Ashcroft the PA was found to be unconstitutional by the courts. I believe one was in violation of the 4th amendment and the other due process. Can't remember which one violated which.
Excellent job, well done! Too often people who "defend" the destruction of our Constitutional rights write blustery untrue posts. I think they believe if they lie often enough people will believe that what they write is the truth when in fact it's pure fiction, a manipulation to distort the truth to serve their purpose.
 

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ashurbanipal said:
Conversely, can you show how the Patriot Act might have prevented 9/11, or any of a number of other realistic terrorist scenarios? The fact is, it wouldn't. So why do we need it?
Exactly! The oh so typical scare tactic employed to justify the dismembering ouf our Constitution is a typical Republican tactic. Scare people into allowing their freedoms to be taken away.
 
H

hipsterdufus

26 X World Champs said:
Exactly! The oh so typical scare tactic employed to justify the dismembering ouf our Constitution is a typical Republican tactic. Scare people into allowing their freedoms to be taken away.

It would make an interesting poll question here:
Would you trade all of your Civil Rights in exchange for a safer US?

Or

If it could be proven that a constant state of Martial Law would make the country safer from future terrorist attacks, would you be in favor of it?
 

Stace

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Let's see here....where was I?


Trajan Octavian Titus said:
Three questions have you had your civil rights violated by the patriot act, do you know anyone who has had their rights violated by the patriot act, and have you heard anywhere of peoples rights being violated by the patriot act?


Just because I or someone I know hasn't been arrested or anything doesn't mean that information isn't being gathered on us. They have easier access to everything about me, simply because I was in the military. You'd be surprised at what's in my medical records....

Adn as far as other people go.....what about all of those wiretaps?
 

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ashurbanipal said:
Conversely, can you show how the Patriot Act might have prevented 9/11, or any of a number of other realistic terrorist scenarios? The fact is, it wouldn't. So why do we need it?

Yes I can the terrorists who perpetrated the 9-11 attacks had many contacts here in the U.S. who were known to be terrorist sympathisers yet we didn't have anything on them to get a warrant for a phone tap if the patriot act had been in place we would have been able to know what was going on; furthermore, there are provisions in the patriot act for keeping tags on the money trail, if you find the money coming in from overseas areas known to be hostile to America then you find out who their contacts are here in the U.S..
 

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Trajan Octavian Titus said:
Yes I can the terrorists who perpetrated the 9-11 attacks had many contacts here in the U.S. who were known to be terrorist sympathisers yet we didn't have anything on them to get a warrant for a phone tap if the patriot act had been in place we would have been able to know what was going on; furthermore, there are provisions in the patriot act for keeping tags on the money trail, if you find the money coming in from overseas areas known to be hostile to America then you find out who their contacts are here in the U.S..
THere are just as many legislation that does exact identical thing. All the patriot act does is allow for easier tapping and aquisition of any citizen who is "suspected" of terrorist acts. I was recently put on the TSA watch list because I purchase one way travel tickets on southwest and paid in full. Very very annoying and completely baseless. Who knows what other forms of information has thus been collected on me that is a complete infringment on my private rights. I don't like to have my personal information looked upon through a magnifying glass by anyone I don't know or anyone I haven't given permission to.
 

cnredd

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Stace said:
You'd be surprised at what's in my medical records...

fingering through Stace's medical records...

Holy crap!...:shock:

:2wave:
 

Stace

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cnredd said:
fingering through Stace's medical records...

Holy crap!...:shock:

:2wave:

See what I mean?!?!?!
 

Trajan Octavian Titus

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jfuh said:
THere are just as many legislation that does exact identical thing. All the patriot act does is allow for easier tapping and aquisition of any citizen who is "suspected" of terrorist acts. I was recently put on the TSA watch list because I purchase one way travel tickets on southwest and paid in full. Very very annoying and completely baseless. Who knows what other forms of information has thus been collected on me that is a complete infringment on my private rights. I don't like to have my personal information looked upon through a magnifying glass by anyone I don't know or anyone I haven't given permission to.

If you've got nothing to hide then you've got nothing to worry about; furthermore, imagine if the same measures had been taken against the perpetrators of 9-11 they purchased one way tickets too I believe, it's a red flag and besides flying on a plane isn't a right it's a privlige just like having a drivers license. That and do you really think your annoyance level trumps the safety of the rest of us?
 

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Trajan Octavian Titus said:
If you've got nothing to hide then you've got nothing to worry about; furthermore, imagine if the same measures had been taken against the perpetrators of 9-11 they purchased one way tickets too I believe, it's a red flag and besides flying on a plane isn't a right it's a privlige just like having a drivers license. That and do you really think your annoyance level trumps the safety of the rest of us?

Perhaps you've forgotten the bill of rights and the constitution all together. Here's a refresher course, my private matters are constitutionally protected. I have no beef with the law when it works the way it's meant to. It's when it's abused to serve the interest of creating a totalitarian government that does not respect the rights of it's people, that's when people should be concerened. If you have no problem with having your back ground under constant supervision, good for you. For the rest of us, thanks but no thanks, I like my privacy exactly that, private.

Perhaps when you grow up and mature some you will understand the importance of government respecting the privacy of its citizens.
 

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You know what I find humorous? That as I was reading the new post on here, the ad at the top was for "solutions for OFAC and the USA Patriot Act"...

If that's not irony, or at least funny, I don't know what is.
 

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jfuh said:
Perhaps you've forgotten the bill of rights and the constitution all together. Here's a refresher course, my private matters are constitutionally protected. I have no beef with the law when it works the way it's meant to. It's when it's abused to serve the interest of creating a totalitarian government that does not respect the rights of it's people, that's when people should be concerened. If you have no problem with having your back ground under constant supervision, good for you. For the rest of us, thanks but no thanks, I like my privacy exactly that, private.

Perhaps when you grow up and mature some you will understand the importance of government respecting the privacy of its citizens.

Sorry your 'privilige,' of getting onto an air-plane without being subject to searches and profiling is not protected under the right to privacy found in the bill of rights, this government is not totalitarian in the slightest ie the seperation of powers, checks and balances, and the free market, the Patriot Act is merely a slight extension of the RICO act that was set in place by the Clinton administration, and the NSA only tapped phones that were outside of the U.S. that happened to recieve calls from inside of the U.S. which is totally within the letter of the law.

Perhaps when you grow up and mature some you will understand the importance of preventing another 9-11 is of paramount concern and that any and all legislation capable of preventing another such attack should be implemented immediatly.
 

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According to the 9/11 Commission Report, almost all of the 9/11 hijackers were identified by the CAPPS database system as a potential threat. The only consequence of being flagged by this database system, at the time, was that they remain off the airplane until their personal baggage had been checked. After that they could board the plane. We did not need the Patriot Act and a bunch of new federal bureaucracies. A simple revision of the system that was already in place would have prevented 9/11.
 

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The fear induced by terrorists and their threats against us have been getting the better of us for too long. It's a great thing that we've finally been motivated to move on the issue, but by eroding freedom, by eliminating any rights to privacy, we play right into their hands and give them exactly what they want. The PA, as it is right now, is precisely the sort of thing they view as a "major victory".

I don't seek to negate the argument that law enforcement needs these tools to thwart terrorist plots, but if we allow them full license to conduct search and seizure without a warrant, without any judicial intervention, then we've become something in direct contradiction to what the founding fathers of our nation had planned. Comprimises can be made that make the PA consistent in upholding the Constitutional rights of Americans, while at the same time providing the tools necessary to fight terrorists.

I'd also like to say that I'm disturbed by the president's lack of willingness to sign a temporary extention of the PA to allow for further debate on it when Senate returns next year. He would be very foolish to let it lapse simply because he's unwilling to allow them a chance to debate and/or augment the provisions as the House did. Unless he's willing to comprimise a bit, I seriously doubt that he's going to get the votes needed to end the fillibuster before Dec. 31.
 

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There is no evidence that our previous civil liberties, before the Patriot Act, posed a barrier to the tracking of potential terrorists.

Instead of throwing the problem back in our face, and asking us whether we've personally experienced discrimination, why don't those of you on the right tell us why we need this act?
 

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Hoot said:
There is no evidence that our previous civil liberties, before the Patriot Act, posed a barrier to the tracking of potential terrorists.

Instead of throwing the problem back in our face, and asking us whether we've personally experienced discrimination, why don't those of you on the right tell us why we need this act?

Reauthorize the Patriot Act
Congress Should Reauthorize the Patriot Act and Further Strengthen Homeland Security

By Alberto R. Gonzales

Wednesday, December 14, 2005; Page A29

On Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists inspired by hatred murdered nearly 3,000 innocent Americans. In response, Congress overwhelmingly passed the USA Patriot Act. Now, before it adjourns for the year, Congress must act again to reauthorize this critical piece of legislation. Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations are at work: Their stated goal is to kill Americans, cripple our economy and demoralize our people.

The bill to be considered this week is a good one. It equips law enforcement with the tools needed to fight terrorists, and it also includes new civil liberties protections. Members of Congress should put aside the rhetoric and focus on the facts surrounding this vital legislation.


Wednesday, Dec. 14, at 3:05 ET
Gonzales Discusses Patriot Act
United States Attorney General Alberto Gonzales discusses his op-ed in today's Washington Post on the reauthorization of the Patriot Act.


The Patriot Act has been successful in helping prevent acts of terrorism in many ways. First, it updated anti-terrorism and criminal laws to reflect evolving technologies. Second, it increased penalties for those who commit terrorist crimes. Third, it gave terrorism investigators the same tools used by those who pursue drug dealers and the Mafia. Most important, the act helped break down the wall preventing regular exchange of information between the law enforcement and intelligence communities.

Four years later, after a lengthy and extensive public debate, Congress has produced a comprehensive reauthorization bill to permanently reauthorize 14 of the act's 16 expiring provisions. During this important debate, Republicans and Democrats have discovered that concerns raised about the act's impact on civil liberties, while sincere, were unfounded. There have been no verified civil liberties abuses in the four years of the act's existence.

Furthermore, the new bill adds 30 safeguards to protect privacy and civil liberties. Specifically, it includes measures providing that those who receive national security letters may consult an attorney and challenge the request in court; requires high-level Justice Department sign-off before investigators may ask a court to order production of certain sensitive records, such as those from a library; and requires that the FBI describe the target of a "roving wiretap" with sufficient specificity to ensure that only a single individual is targeted.

In addition, this bill further strengthens homeland security by creating a new national security division at the Justice Department, providing additional protections against the threat of attacks on mass transportation systems and at our seaports, and granting us additional tools to protect Americans from terrorism.

Congress must act now or risk bringing terrorism prevention to a halt. For example, it is widely accepted -- and documented by independent bodies such as the Sept. 11 and WMD commissions -- that a lack of information-sharing and coordination in our government before the attacks of Sept. 11 compromised our ability to connect the dots about what our enemies were doing. The Patriot Act helped dismantle this barrier. And if we allow certain provisions to "sunset" on Jan. 1, we risk shutting down essential intelligence-sharing that occurs in the National Counterterrorism Center and other facilities where law enforcement officials sit side-by-side with intelligence professionals.

Those who voice concern that Congress is rushing to reauthorize the expiring provisions fail to recognize the oversight it has conducted. In 2005, Congress held 23 hearings focused on reauthorization and heard from more than 60 witnesses. The Justice Department was pleased to provide witnesses at 18 of those hearings, with more than 30 appearances by our experts. I testified three times, explaining the importance of the act, responding to concerns and directly addressing the act's critics. My testimony was informed not only by the successes of the act but also by my personal meetings with representatives from groups such as the ACLU and the American Library Association. During the reauthorization discussion, I asked that certain provisions be clarified to ensure the protection of civil liberties, and Congress responded.

For example, Section 215 of the act permits the government to obtain records on an order issued by a federal judge. I agreed that the statute should allow a recipient of such an order to consult a lawyer and challenge it in court. Further, I agreed that Congress should make explicit the standard under which such orders are issued: relevance to an authorized national security investigation. In 2001 one prominent Democratic senator agreed that the "FBI has made a clear case that a relevance standard is appropriate for counterintelligence and counterterrorism investigations, as well as for criminal investigations."

The president has said that our number-one priority is preventing another catastrophic terrorist attack. Congress must act immediately and reauthorize the Patriot Act before the men and women in law enforcement lose the tools they need to keep us safe.

The writer is attorney general of the United States. He will answer questions about this column today at 3:05 p.m. on washingtonpost.com.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/13/AR2005121301476.html
 
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Hoot said:
There is no evidence that our previous civil liberties, before the Patriot Act, posed a barrier to the tracking of potential terrorists.

Instead of throwing the problem back in our face, and asking us whether we've personally experienced discrimination, why don't those of you on the right tell us why we need this act?

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales Highlights Success in the War on Terror at the Council on Foreign Relations
The prevention of terrorist attacks and the prosecution of the war on terrorism remain the top priorities of the Department of Justice. In the past year alone, there have been significant convictions in terrorism cases from Virginia to Texas, following a track record of success over the past four years in previous cases such as John Walker Lindh, Zacarias Moussaoui and Richard Reid, among others.

Notable 2005 cases include: Ahmed Omar Abu Ali: On November 22, 2005 in the Eastern District of Virginia, a federal jury convicted Ahmed Omar Abu Ali on all counts of a superseding indictment charging him with terrorism offenses. The jury found Ali, a 24-year-old Virginia man, guilty of conspiracy to provide material support and resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization (al Qaeda); providing material support and resources to al Qaeda; conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists; providing material support to terrorists; contribution of services to al Qaeda; receipt of funds and services from al Qaeda; conspiracy to assassinate the President of the United States; conspiracy to commit air piracy; and conspiracy to destroy aircraft. Ali faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for February 17, 2006. Uzair Paracha: On November 23, 2005, a federal jury in the Southern District of New York convicted Uzair Paracha, a Pakistani national with permanent resident alien status in the United States, on charges of providing material support to al Qaeda. Evidence at trial proved that Paracha agreed with his father and two al Qaeda members to provide support to al Qaeda by, among other things, trying to help an al Qaeda member re-enter the United States to commit a terrorist act. Paracha faces a maximum sentence of 75 years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for March 3, 2006.

Hemant Lakhani: On April 27, 2005 in the District of New Jersey, a federal jury convicted a British national, Hemant Lakhani, on charges of attempting to sell shoulder-fired missiles to what he thought was a terrorist group intent on shooting down U.S. airliners. Lakhani was arrested following an undercover sting operation involving agents from several nations. Lakhani was sentenced in September 2005 to 47 years in prison.

Ali Al-Timimi: On April 26, 2005 in the Eastern District of Virginia, Ali Al-Timimi was convicted on all 10 charges brought against him in connection with the “Virginia Jihad” case. Al-Timimi, a spiritual leader at a mosque in Northern Virginia, encouraged other individuals at a meeting to go to Pakistan to receive military training from Lashkar-e-Taibi, a designated foreign terrorist group, in order to fight U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Al-Timimi was sentenced to life in prison.

Zacarias Moussaoui: On April 24, 2005 in the Eastern District of Virginia, Zacarias Moussaoui pleaded guilty to six charges against him related to his participation in the September 11th conspiracy. Moussaoui faces a maximum penalty of death.

Eric Robert Rudolph: On April 13, 2005 in the Northern District of Georgia and the Northern District of Alabama, Eric Robert Rudolph pleaded guilty to charges related to deadly bombings in Birmingham, Alabama, and in the Atlanta area, including the bombing at the 1996 Olympics. He has been sentenced to life in prison. Rudolph provided the government with information about 250 pounds of explosives that he had hidden in the Western North Carolina area. As a result of Rudolph’s information, the government was able to locate and safely detonate the explosives.

‘INFOCOM’: On April 12, 2005 in the Northern District of Texas, a federal jury convicted Bayan Elashi, Basman Elashi, Ghassan Elashi and the Infocom Corporation on charges of conspiracy to deal in the property of a specially designated terrorist and money laundering. The activities were related to Infocom, an Internet service provider believed to be a front for Hamas. Mohammed Ali Hasan Al-Moayad and Mohammed Zayed: On March 10, 2005 a federal jury in the Eastern District of New York convicted Mohammed Ali Hasan Al-Moayad, a Yemeni cleric, and Mohammed Zayed on charges of providing, and conspiring to provide material support and resources to al Qaeda and Hamas. Al-Moayad was sentenced to 75 years in prison; Zayed was sentenced to 45 years in prison.

Rafil Dhafir: On February 10, 2005 in the Northern District of New York, a federal jury convicted Rafil Dhafir on charges of participating in a conspiracy to unlawfully send money to Iraq, in violation of U.S. sanctions, and money laundering. Dhafir was sentenced to 22 years in prison. Lynne Stewart, et al: On February 10, 2005, a federal jury in the Southern District of New York convicted attorney Lynne Stewart, Mohammed Yousry, Ahmed Abdel Sattar and Yassir al-Sirri on charges including providing, and concealing the provision of, material support or resources to terrorists. The four defendants were associates of Sheikh Abdel-Rahman, leader of the terrorist organization Islamic Group (IG). Rahman is serving a life sentence for his role in terrorist activity, including the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.

http://www.usdoj.gov/opa/pr/2005/December/05_opa_641.html
 

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Hoot said:
There is no evidence that our previous civil liberties, before the Patriot Act, posed a barrier to the tracking of potential terrorists.

Instead of throwing the problem back in our face, and asking us whether we've personally experienced discrimination, why don't those of you on the right tell us why we need this act?


Prepared Remarks for Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales
at the Council on Foreign Relations
New York, NY
December 1, 2005
Thank you for that introduction; it’s a pleasure to be here.

I understand that they lit the tree at Rockefeller Center last night - I guess that means the Christmas season has officially begun. We Texans like to believe that everything is bigger in the Lone Star State. But, I think that even this proud Houstonian can concede that you’ve got us on the Christmas tree.

It has been my experience that just one of the many great things about New York is that New Yorkers share their gifts with the entire Nation…Americans believe that’s their tree in Rockefeller Center, just as they believe that the wonders of New York City are theirs, even if they’ve never visited.

That’s one of the many reasons that September 11th galvanized the country in the manner it did. As so many have noted: We were all New Yorkers on that terrible day.

Thankfully, there has not been another attack on our homeland in the four years since. America quickly united in the fight against terrorism, and we’ve prevented this evil from returning to our shores. However, the horrors of terrorism have been felt around the globe. And as you’ve heard the President repeat: “We are safer, but not yet safe.”

So the message four years removed from September 11th is the same as it was when we watched the twin towers fall, and saw the Pentagon burn, and witnessed the heroism over Pennsylvania aboard Flight 93. We must continue to be resolute in the face of a determined and deadly enemy that has killed innocent citizens from New York to London, from Madrid to Baghdad, from Amman to Bali.

And so, we must continue to work with our friends around the world who are also targets. We must remain active in identifying our nation’s vulnerabilities. And we must stand firm in responding to those who would destroy all that has made America great.

I think we all know what is at stake. I am a product of the American dream. And as the father of two young sons, I wish for them - as all parents wish for their children - a world in which the hope and opportunity of that dream is available and abundant.

In this new century - as Americans face a new kind of enemy and a new brand of conflict - we must fight an intelligent war against terrorism using every tool available…while remaining true to the ideals that make America worth defending - especially civil rights and civil liberties.

This is the government’s obligation. And it is the American people’s expectation… it is your expectation.

The President has embraced this charge. He is leading a comprehensive war against terrorism. Speaking on the Iraq war at the Naval Academy yesterday, President Bush promised that: “We will never back down. We will never give in. And we will never accept anything less than complete victory.”

When it comes to securing our nation and our neighborhoods, there is no alternative but constant pressure within a comprehensive strategy. I am proud to say that our friends and allies around the world also embrace this strategy. Like us, they are not sitting still, they are taking tough action to better protect their citizens.

We are continuing, everyday, to evaluate and employ existing laws and tools that can help us in this fight…and looking for new ways to stay ahead of a constantly evolving enemy.

I am committed to that goal, and so are the investigators, prosecutors, and policy makers at the Department of Justice. Prevention of future terrorist attacks is our highest priority. That’s why we are using every available lawful means to protect America - recognizing that when it comes to terrorism and terrorists, no single tool can do the job. It will take every weapon in our arsenal to combat this evil enemy.

Recent headlines reflect some of the ways the Department of Justice does its part to fight the War on Terror - including the use of the PATRIOT Act; prosecuting terrorism cases in federal court; and helping to train our Iraqi counterparts as they establish a functioning judicial system. Let me touch on each of these briefly, before taking your questions.

The PATRIOT Act has given investigators additional authorities they need to help stop terrorists before they can hurt Americans and harm our way of life. As we know, the Act was designed by an overwhelming bipartisan majority in Congress to deal directly with the shortcomings in our system prior to September 11th - providing new and better methods of sharing information, increasing cooperation and coordination in the law enforcement community, and improving our ability to track and investigate terrorist activity in the United States. Sixteen key provisions of the Act are scheduled to expire at the end of this year. For several months, Congress has debated these provisions. It is good in a democracy like ours that we discuss and analyze the wisdom of every law - particularly those that, if abused, would infringe your civil liberties. We have done that. Now, Congress must act to reauthorize the PATRIOT Act by sending the President a bill of which all Americans can be proud.

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Trajan Octavian Titus

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Hoot said:
There is no evidence that our previous civil liberties, before the Patriot Act, posed a barrier to the tracking of potential terrorists.

Instead of throwing the problem back in our face, and asking us whether we've personally experienced discrimination, why don't those of you on the right tell us why we need this act?

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Another important tool we have in the fight against terrorists is our criminal justice system. Many of the Department’s prosecutorial efforts are familiar to you. There was Zacarias Moussaoui, who admitted his role in a plot to crash airplanes into prominent buildings in the United States - and that he was selected for this operation by Usama bin Laden. A penalty phase trial to determine his punishment will begin with jury selection in February. You will also recall Richard Reid, frequently referred to as the “shoe bomber,” who planned to detonate explosives on an airplane, and was sentenced to life imprisonment in Boston. And there was John Walker Lindh, the so-called “American Taliban,” who has been sentenced to twenty years in federal prison for joining the Taliban’s fight against the U.S.-led liberation of Afghanistan.

But those are just a few of our early, high-profile prosecutions. You may not have heard as much about some other, recent successes we have had in fighting the War on Terror. It is hardly the case - as some have sought to suggest - that we’ve disrupted only a handful of terrorist plots since 9/11. Far from it. I want to share a few with you this evening a few examples as a reminder that the threat is real - and the need for Americans to stay vigilant remains vital.

Just last week, on November 23rd, the Department of Justice obtained a conviction here in New York of Uzair Paracha, who was charged with providing material support to al Qaeda. Paracha was part of an operation to help an al Qaeda operative obtain documents to re-enter the United States to commit what Paracha believed was a planned chemical attack on the United States. Authorities who arrested Paracha found an al Qaeda associate’s driver’s license, social security card, and bankcard in the place where Paracha was staying. Paracha also had agreed to hold al Qaeda funds in a business where he worked until al Qaeda needed them for its operations.

Another verdict in recent days involved Ahmed Omar Abu Ali. Abu Ali was a resident of Falls Church, Virginia, a suburb of our nation’s capital, who received training in weapons, explosives, and document forgery from al Qaeda while in Saudi Arabia. When police searched Abu Ali’s home, they found tapes in Arabic promoting jihad and the killing of Jews, materials praising the 9/11 attacks and condemning U.S. military action in Afghanistan, and a book written by al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri advocating the violent destruction of democracy. The operations planned by Abu Ali and his co-conspirators included a plot to assassinate President Bush using either multiple snipers or a suicide bomb, as well as a plot to conduct 9/11-style attacks with planes flying from other countries to the United States. Abu Ali faces up to life in prison for his crimes.

Earlier this year, a jury in the Eastern District of New York convicted two Yemeni citizens, Mohammed Ali Hasan Al-Moayad and Mohsen Zayed. Al-Moayad was the imam of a large mosque and Zayed was his assistant. Together they collected money through the al Farook mosque in Brooklyn and distributed it to al Qaeda and Hamas in order to help train, equip, and arm jihad terrorists. The government made its case against the pair with the assistance of our German colleagues, who worked alongside the FBI in an undercover operation and traveled to Brooklyn to testify about al-Moayad’s and Zayed’s actions. The evidence at trial demonstrated that, during conversations with undercover officials, al-Moayad boasted that he had helped funnel some $20 million to Usama bin Laden and millions more to Hamas. On July 28 of this year, al Moayad was sentenced to 75 years in prison; Zayed was sentenced to 45 years.

In April of this year, the Department obtained the conviction of Ali Al-Timimi, part of what has been referred to as the Northern Virginia Jihad Network, a group of nearly a dozen individuals who attended the Dar al-Arqam Islamic Center just outside Washington D.C. The group participated in paramilitary training with the encouragement of Al-Timimi, a popular spiritual leader at the Islamic Center. During a meeting held after the 9/11 attacks, Al-Timimi encouraged his followers to go to Pakistan to receive additional military training and then join the fight against American troops in Afghanistan. Several made it to Pakistan where they received military-style training at violent jihad camps.

One of Al-Timini’s followers was later found in Gaithersburg, Maryland in possession of an AK-47 rifle and a copy of “The Terrorist’s Handbook,” containing instructions on how to manufacture and use explosives and chemicals as weapons.

I could go on with many more examples of our successful efforts to prevent terrorist attacks here at home.

These stories speak for themselves: The threat to our nation and our way of life remains very real. The terrorists are constant and unrelenting. Their plans are cunning, and their methods cold-blooded. As difficult as the task is, we must continue to bring the battle to our enemies every day - and do so on each and every front available to us.

On the most basic level, these cases - and others - highlight both the extent of our success and the reality of the continuing threat. They show that we’re doing the right thing…and doing it to great effect.

***

Notwithstanding our many prosecution successes, there are some challenges associated with prosecuting - and I use that word both broadly and narrowly - the War on Terror.

Terrorism cases are difficult to investigate and prosecute. These matters are both local and global in scope, impact intelligence community sources and methods, and implicate sensitive diplomatic relationships. From evidentiary issues relating to the chain of custody, to the availability of witnesses, to video linked depositions of foreign witnesses, significant hurdles unique to terrorism cases present real difficulties. That is one of the reasons why the government has utilized all the authorities at its disposal to address the new situations presented by the war on terrorism.

One such authority is the ability of the military to detain enemy combatants.

Justice O’Connor, writing for the Supreme Court in the Hamdi case, reaffirmed both the importance and the legality of the military’s long-established authority to detain enemy combatants captured on the battlefield during the course of hostilities, even if they are American citizens, to prevent them from returning to the battlefield and taking up arms against America once again. Justice O’Connor recognized, too, that it is consistent with our Constitution and the traditional laws of war that, quote, “a citizen, no less than an alien, can be part of or supporting forces hostile to the United States” and therefore be subject to detention during the course of hostilities.

Enemy combatants are held lawfully and for preventive reasons to protect America’s soldiers and America’s citizens. It would defy every past practice of war, not to mention common sense and sound policy, to release back into battle those whom we capture fighting against us.

Even so, the Department of Defense provides enemy combatant detainees privileges the likes of which no nation in history has ever afforded its enemies. The Supreme Court indicated that the government must provide some process, and the Department of Defense has. With Combatant Status Review Tribunals at Guantanamo, for instance, each detainee is entitled to a hearing, to present evidence that he believes might support his release, and to receive the assistance of a military officer in presenting his case. And a parole-type process called an Administrative Review Board provides persons established to be enemy combatants a chance, once a year, to be heard and released, even while a conflict is going on.

We can be proud of the procedural protections the Department of Defense has afforded our Nation’s enemies, but we cannot discount the danger these detainees continue to pose to us and to our servicemen fighting abroad. Of the hundreds of detainees released from Guantanamo based on a determination that they posed only a low risk to this country, the Defense Department has reported that at least ten have returned to take up arms against the United States.

It’s a further reminder that if we do not constantly engage the terrorists, I am convinced the terrorists will once again successfully bring the battle to our shores.

***

In addition to prosecuting terrorist in court and incapacitating enemy combatants, the Administration works to uphold the Rule of Law, protect the personal liberties and rights promised by our Constitution, and promote justice around the world. This obligation itself forms yet another front in the War on Terrorism - winning the hearts and minds of freedom loving people everywhere.

If we are to rally even more countries to our cause, we must continue to show the world that we are worthy of its trust. We must show that, while our enemies would kill innocent fellow Muslims celebrating a wedding in a hotel in Jordan, we are committed to respecting and honoring the innate value of all human life.




***

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