Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Patriot Action for Civil Liberties

"If Democrats can't stand up on something like this when the president's poll numbers are 34 percent, I just wonder how much right we have to govern this country." -- Sen. Russ Feingold on opposing USA PATRIOT Act reauthorization.

As Sen. Feingold has pointed out, the "compromise" to reauthorize George W. Bush's PATRIOT Act still fails to protect American's civil liberties:
  • It doesn't prevent the government from obtaining the library, medical and other sensitive business records of people with no link to suspected terrorists.

  • It doesn't provide meaningful judicial review of the gag orders associated with Section 215 business records orders and National Security Letters.

  • It doesn't ensure that when government agents secretly break into the homes of Americans to do a so-called “sneak and peek” search, they tell the owners of those homes in most circumstances within seven days, as courts have said they should.
In the 6th District Democratic primary, only one candidate stands opposed to renewing the Bush Patriot Act. From your Daily Herald:
Christine Cegelis, who is running against Lindy Scott and Tammy Duckworth in the March 21 primary, said she’s disappointed in the legislation.

“We need to be more vigilant about our civil rights. Our privacy is paramount, and I don’t think we’re protecting that enough,” said Cegelis, of Rolling Meadows. ***

Both the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Library Association say the compromise is flawed. The library group contends it’s unclear what rights are protected and that library patrons’ Internet records still could be confiscated by the government.
Like Sen. Feingold, Christine Cegelis understands that the security failures of 9-11 were due to a lack of information analysis, not information collection.
A technology consultant, [Cegelis] argued that the government is obtaining too much data and doesn’t know how to process it.

“The Patriot Act continues the problem of gathering too much unfocussed information and not bringing good intelligence,” she said. “9/11 could have been prevented if there was a better synthesis of information.”
"You've got to show people you believe in something, not just that you're gaming the issues." -- Sen. Russ Feingold on the renewal of the USA PATRIOT Act.

Also from your Daily Herald:
Duckworth, a National Guard reservist from Hoffman Estates who lost her legs after her helicopter was shot down in Iraq, said she’s torn but would probably vote for the compromise. ***

Scott says he’s taking a “realistic” approach.

“The compromise does not protect all the individual rights it should, but it is a step in the right direction,” the Wheaton College professor explained.

“The Democrats, being in the minority, cannot get everything that would make it a better rule, but it is about as good as we can get right now.”
So 6th District Democratics who oppose George Bush's USA PATRIOT Act will have a stark and simple choice in the primary: Opposition in fact or mere opposition in theory.

UPDATE: "Protecting Americans from our enemies while protecting the civil liberties that the original American patriots fought for and founded our country to establish sounds patriotic to me."

Hiram further explains the significance of Cegelis' position at WurfWhile.

Cross-posted at Illinoize

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