June 14, 2005
Patriot Reauthorization Act a Danger to Liberty
Libertarian Party Calls on Congress to Show Common Sense and Vows to
Fight for America
(Washington, D.C.) In a closed session last week, the Senate Select
Committee on Intelligence voted to reauthorize and expand the USA
PATRIOT Act, which came into law weeks after 9/11. Originally, the
Patriot Act was set to expire after five years but the Bush
administration and Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez are seeking to
make the law permanent while expanding its reach and scope.
In its current form the Patriot Act violates at least six of the
amendments that comprise the Bill of Rights. Under the act, law
enforcement may conduct no-notice searches of residences and
businesses; conduct roving wiretaps; or seize personal files such as
medical, financial, employment and even library lending history.
Additionally, the PATRIOT Act has led to peaceful community groups
being investigated as terrorist cells.
While President George W. Bush credits the PATRIOT Act for securing
over 200 convictions, the majority of those convictions have little to
do with terrorism. The PATRIOT Act, originally crafted to protect the
nation from terrorists, has been used to fight corruption in Nevada
strip clubs; was used to track those responsible for computer crimes;
and has even been effective to foreign countries in fighting groups
such as HAMAS. Generally, the PATRIOT Act has been a failure within
its defined purpose.
The new version of the PATRIOT Act, already approved by a Senate
committee, will expand the reach of the FBI by giving individual
agents "administrative authority" to create and approve their own
search warrants. With no checks in place to prevent abuse, violations
of the law would go unnoticed under the expansion of the already
"The Libertarian Party urges members of Congress to vote against the
Patriot Reauthorization Act" stated Joe Seehusen, executive director
of the National Libertarian Party. He continued, "If the PATRIOT Act
is made permanent and is expanded, the Libertarian Party will
continually fight to uncover abuses of the law and will assist in
protecting the privacy and civil liberties of all Americans."