The Patriot Act

Below are excerpts from a recent speech by Al Gore. I would urge you to go read it, especially for the section where he covers exactly how the CIA and FBI had specific information that they could have used to detect and prevent two of the 9-11 hijackers, and thus foiled the whole tragedy.

“Here’s another recent change in our civil liberties:� Now, if it wants to, the federal government has the right to monitor every website you go to on the internet, keep a list of everyone you send email to or receive email from and everyone who you call on the telephone or who calls you � and they don’t even have to show probable cause that you’ve done anything wrong.� Nor do they ever have to report to any court on what they�re doing with the information.� Moreover, there are precious few safeguards to keep them from reading the content of all your email.”

“Starting two years ago, federal agents were given broad new statutory authority by the Patriot Act to “sneak and peak” in non-terrorism cases.� They can secretly enter your home with no warning � whether you are there or not � and they can wait for months before telling you they were there.� And it doesn’t have to have any relationship to terrorism whatsoever.� It applies to any garden-variety crime.� And the new law makes it very easy to get around the need for a traditional warrant — simply by saying that searching your house might have some connection (even a remote one) to the investigation of some agent of a foreign power.� Then they can go to another court, a secret court, that more or less has to give them a warrant whenever they ask.”
“Indeed, this Administration has turned the fundamental presumption of our democracy on its head.� A government of and for the people is supposed to be generally open to public scrutiny by the people — while the private information of the people themselves should be routinely protected from government intrusion.�
But instead, this Administration is seeking to conduct its work in secret even as it demands broad unfettered access to personal information about American citizens.� Under the rubric of protecting national security, they have obtained new powers to gather information from citizens and to keep it secret.� Yet at the same time they themselves refuse to disclose information that is highly relevant to the war against terrorism.”

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