- The following article is one section from Jim Marrs'
new book The War on Freedom. Originally scheduled for publication from
a major New York publishing house, this book was suddenly canceled by a
corporate officer who never read it and despite the fact that it had passed
legal review. To see what certain people do not want you to read, order
a copy of The War on Freedom by visiting JimMarrs.com
or calling 940-433-8094.
- In early 2003 there was an effort underway within the
Justice Department to further expand the provisions and powers of the PATRIOT
Act. And it was all done in such secrecy that even ranking members of congress
did not know this act was in preparation.
- Even Mark Corallo, deputy director of the Justice Department's
Office of Public Affairs appeared unaware of the draft legislation. "This
is all news to me. I have never heard of this," he told members of
the Center for Public Integrity, a Washington-based group dedicated to
"public service journalism." This center obtained a copy of the
document and made it public in early 2003.
- A spokesman for the House Judiciary Committee, Jeff Lungren,
said, "We haven't heard anything from the Justice Department on updating
the PATRIOT Act. They haven't shared their thoughts on that. Obviously,
we'd be interested, but we haven't heard anything at this point."
- After reviewing the draft legislation, Dr. David Cole
of the Georgetown University Law School said raises a "lot of serious
concerns." "It's troubling that they have gotten this far along
and they've been telling people there is nothing in the works." He
added the proposed changes "would radically expand law enforcement
and intelligence gathering authorities, reduce or eliminate judicial oversight
over surveillance, authorize secret arrests, create a DNA database based
on unchecked executive `suspicion,' create new death penalties, and even
seek to take American citizenship away from persons who belong to or support
disfavored political groups."
- Innocently entitled the "Domestic Security Enhancement
Act of 2003," this expansion of both police and government powers
was kept deep within the confines of the Justice Department until leaked
to the public. As usual, the corporate controlled mass media made little
of the story but it sparked outrage on the Internet and from some columnists.
- Editorial page writer Errol Louis of the New York Sun
wrote, "[This] document is a catalog of authoritarianism that runs
counter to the basic tenets of modern democracy." Columnist Jim Hightower
termed it "Ashcroft's Latest Assault on Liberty."
- A dissection of the PATRIOT Act expansion by Timothy
H. Edgar, Legislative Counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, revealed
the legislation would diminish personal privacy by removing checks on government
- - Making it easier to initiate surveillance and wiretapping
of U. S. Citizens under the authority of the little-known Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Court (FISC). (Sections 101, 102 and 107)
- - Permitting the government, under certain circumstances,
to bypass the FISC altogether and conduct warrantless wiretaps and searches.
(Sections 103 and 104)
- - Sheltering federal agents engaged in illegal surveillance
without a court order from criminal prosecution if they are following the
orders of Executive Branch officials. (Section 106)
- - Creating a new category of "domestic security
surveillance" that permits electronic eavesdropping of entirely domestic
activity under looser standards than provided for ordinary criminal surveillance.
- - Using an overly broad definition of terrorism that
could cover some protest tactics such as those used by Operation Rescue
or the protesters at Vieques Island, Puerto Rico, as a new predicate for
criminal wiretapping and other electronic surveillance (Sections 120 and
- - Providing for general surveillance orders covering
multiple functions for high-tech devices and by further expanding pen register
and trap and trace authority for intelligence surveillance of U.S. citizens
and lawful permanent foreign residents. (Sections 107-124)
- - Creating a new and separate crime of using encryption
technology that could add five years to any jail sentence for crimes committed
with a computer. ((Section 144)
- - Expanding the PATRIOT Act's definition of nationwide
search warrants and giving the government secret access to credit reports
with consent or judicial process (Sections 125 and 126)
- - Enhancing the government's ability to obtain sensitive
personal information without prior judicial approval and providing new
penalties for failure to comply with written demands for such records.
(Sections 128 and 129)
- - Allowing for the sampling and cataloging of innocent
Americans ' genetic [DNA} information without a court order or the individual's
consent. (Sections 301-306)
- - Permitting sensitive personal information to be shared
with state and local law enforcement agencies despite any connection to
anti-terrorism measures, (Section 311)
- - Terminating court-approved limits on police spying,
put in place to prevent Mc-Carthy-era style police persecution based on
political or religious affiliation. (Section 312)
- - Permitting searches, wiretaps and surveillance of U.S.
citizens on behalf of foreign governments - to include dictators and human
rights abusers' - in the absence of Senate-approved treaties. (Sections
- - Authorizing secret arrests in immigration, material
witness and other cases where the detained person is not criminally charged.
- - Threatening public health by severely restricting access
to crucial information concerning health risks by facilities that use dangerous
chemicals. (Section 202)
- - Diminishing corporate responsibility by grant immunity
to businesses that provide information to government terrorism investigations
even if such actions are taken with disregard for the customer's privacy
and show reckless disregard for the truth. (Section 313)
- - Undermines basic constitutional rights by overly broad
definitions of "terrorism" and "terrorist organization"
which could result in stripping a native-born American of citizenship if
they wittingly or unwittingly support any organization deemed terrorist
by government officials. (Section 501)
- - Creating 15 new categories of the death penalty, including
one should a death result from otherwise peaceful protests such as Operation
Rescue. (Section 411)
- - Permitting arrests and extradition of American citizens
to any foreign country including ones with bad human rights records, in
the absence of a Senate-approved treaty and unfairly targeting immigrants
by opening sensitive personal visa files to local law enforcement agencies
and extended jail terms for common immigration offenses. (Sections 322,
311 and 502)
- - Permitting summary deportations of American citizens
deemed a threat to national security by Attorney General Ashcroft, even
with no evidence of criminal activity, intent or terrorism. (Section 503)
- -Completely abolishing fair hearings for American citizens
convicted of minor criminal offenses through a retroactive "expedited
removal" procedure and preventing any court from questioning the government'
s unlawful actions by explicitly exempting these cases from habeas corpus
review. (Section 504)
- ACLU counsel Edgar noted that the constitutional protection
of habeas corpus (the right to a hearing to determine if any criminal offense
has been committed) has not been exempted since the War Between the States.
- Edgar added that despite the Justice Department's efforts
to characterize both the PATRIOT Act and its proposed expansion as minor
tinkering with statutory language, "the DOJ's modest descriptions
of the powers it is seeking, and the actual scope of the authorities it
seeks, are miles apart." "The USA PATRIOT Act undercut many of
the traditional checks and balances on government power, " he explained.
"The new draft legislation threatens to fundamentally alter the constitutional
protections that allow us as Americans to be both safe and free. If adopted,
the bill would diminish personal privacy by removing important checks on
government surveillance authority, reduce the accountability of government
to be public by increasing government secrecy, further undermine fundamental
constitutional rights of Americans under an already over broad definition
of `terrorism,' and seriously erode the right of all persons to due process
- Many of the provision of the expansion of the PATRIOT
Act seem to be so draconian and reprehensible that many people felt it
could never be passed in the light of day. But, as noted by Professor Cole,
author of Terrorism and the Constitution, this legislation may lay awaiting
yet another pretext to make it law.
- He said PATRIOT Act II "is troubling as a generic
matter that they have gotten this far along and tell people that there
is nothing in the works. What that suggests is that they're waiting for
a propitious time to introduce it, which might well be when a war is begun.
At that time there would be less opportunity for discussion and they'll
have a much stronger hand in saying that they need these things right away."
- Author and Internet commentator Whitley Strieber expressed
similar sentiments by writing, "If there is a horrendous terrorist
attack on our country in the next few weeks or months, and there emerges
a similar lack of official will to prevent it, and then the Domestic Security
Enhancement Act is placed before a terrified and compliant congress, then,
in my opinion, the conclusion will be inescapable: the United States of
America will have ceased to be a free nation and the first American dictatorship
will be under way."