Report prepared by Bruce Hamilton | The SOURCE takes a stand: Homeland Security
John Kerry’s stance on the USA PATRIOT Act (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism) is yet another example of why the Senator cannot be trusted with America’s safety. Although he voted for the act as it stood in 2001, on December 1, 2003, he insisted it was time to replace it as part of a larger campaign to end the “era of John Ashcroft.” Now, he advocates keeping most of it, fixing some of it, and letting the rest expire. His position is frighteningly unclear; he wants Americans to first elect him and then find out what he will really do. Bush, on the other hand, has a clear vision. He recognizes the necessity of this legislation in giving American forces the best tools and powers to protect the country.
According to FOX News, a report issued in the summer of 2004 found that “Justice Department terrorism investigations resulted in charges of 310 people.” Of those, 179 were convicted or pled guilty.
“The Patriot Act is al Qaeda’s worst nightmare when it comes to disrupting and disabling their operations here in America,” said Attorney General John Ashcroft. He cited specific examples of success, including an instance in which new intelligence sharing capabilities had resulted in six guilty pleas from terrorists discovered after the FBI received a suspicious letter. The financial provisions have helped prosecute many people convicted of illegal money transfer from various countries, including Yemen, Iraq, and India.
The accusations that the Patriot Act destroys civil liberties are completely unfounded. It has yet to be shown that the government has ever abused the power it has been given, and the success in finding terrorists and cells has been stunning. The Patriot Act is a vital law for the protection of Americans in a world that is far more dangerous than most people understand. Conspiracy theorists like the ACLU, who are convinced that the Bush Administration is interested in “spying” on citizens, must recognize that the Patriot Act is not a tool used to undermine civil rights. It is an effective, concerted law that simply expands the government’s ability to track leads, share evidence, communicate concerns, and investigate possible threats.
Part of the act’s effectiveness comes from its efficiency. Terrorists do not wait for American intelligence to discover their plots; they mobilize to carry out deadly schemes as quickly as possible. John Kerry’s website claims that his proposed revisions, “would not reduce the government’s power to fight terror—they would just ensure that the government’s use of these powers is truly necessary.” This is a classic example of Kerry trying to appeal to everybody while taking no definitive stance. He is, in effect, claiming he will simultaneously keep the act as strong as it is now to appease its supporters, and weaken it, pandering to the ludicrous accusations of groups like the ACLU. While Kerry’s administration gets hopelessly lost in red tape trying to ensure that some investigation is “truly necessary,” dangerous and hostile enemies will seize their opportunity to act on the government’s inefficiency and mount another horrific attack. This is something America simply cannot afford.
The Patriot Act is constitutional, effective, and vital. George W. Bush will do everything he can to protect this landmark legislation that is truly making America safer.