June 30, 2004 4:43 PM Subscribe
So I've just come back from a meeting with a US Senator, and during the conversation, he went to great lengths to defend the US Patriot Act ...
posted by silusGROK to law & government (18 answers total)
... and though I've yet heard an argument that swayed me to think that the act was anything more than a naked power grab, the good Senator did raise an interesting point: he stated that the US Patriot Act in many instances brought to domestic counter-terrorism efforts tools that had long been available to other forms of investigations (namely drug trafficking).
He gave a case in point: an FBI agent working on a drug case wants to tap the cell phone of a suspect, so he obtains the standard warrants... as the suspect moves about the country, the agent doesn't need a judge in each new jurisdiction to sign-off on the warrant; the good Senator maintains that the same agent (prior to the US Patriot Act) working on a counter-terrorism case, wishing to tap the cell phone of a suspected terrorist, would have to get warrants from each jurisdiction as the suspect moved across the country.
The argument, in brief, was that US Patriot Act merely brought to counter-terrorism investigations the tools available in so many other areas of specialty.
So here's my question: I'm curious what our collective mind might think of an act that standardized tools across specialties (minus all the Orwellian trappings of the current US Patriot Act). What are our concerns? What might our praise be?