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FEDERAL POLICE FORCE created in 'new & improved' USA Patriot Act

A provision in the "Patriot Act" creates a new federal police force with power to violate the Bill of Rights. You might think that this cannot be true as you have not read about it in newspapers or heard it discussed by talking heads on TV.

Go to House Report 109-333 -USA PATRIOT IMPROVEMENT AND REAUTHORIZATION ACT OF 2005  http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/cpquery/R?cp109:FLD010:@1(hr333) and check it out for yourself. Sec. 605 reads:
"There is hereby created and established a permanent police force, to be known as the 'United States Secret Service Uniformed Division'."

This new federal police force is "subject to the supervision of the Secretary of Homeland Security."

The new police are empowered to "make arrests without warrant for any offense against the United States committed in their presence, or for any felony cognizable under the laws of the United States if they have reasonable grounds to believe that the person to be arrested has committed or is committing such felony."

The new police are assigned a variety of jurisdictions, including "an event designated under section 3056(e) of title 18 as a special event of national significance" (SENS).

"A special event of national significance" is neither defined nor does it require the presence of a "protected person" such as the president in order to trigger it. Thus, the administration, and perhaps the police themselves, can place the SENS designation on any event. Once a SENS designation is placed on an event, the new federal police are empowered to keep out and to arrest people at their discretion.

The language conveys enormous discretionary and arbitrary powers. What is "an offense against the United States"? What are "reasonable grounds"?

You can bet that the Alito/Roberts court will rule that it is whatever the executive branch says.

The obvious purpose of the act is to prevent demonstrations at Bush/ Cheney events. However, nothing in the language limits the police powers from being used only in this way. Like every law in the US, this law also will be expansively interpreted and abused. It has dire implications for freedom of association and First Amendment rights. We can take for granted that the new federal police will be used to suppress dissent and to break up opposition. The Brownshirts are now arming themselves with a Gestapo.

Many naive Americans will write to me to explain that this new provision in the reauthorization of the "Patriot Act" is necessary to protect the president and other high officials from terrorists or from harm at the hands of angry demonstrators: "No one else will have anything to fear." Some will accuse me of being an alarmist, and others will say that it is unpatriotic to doubt the law's good intentions.

Americans will write such nonsense despite the fact that the president and foreign dignitaries are already provided superb protection by the Secret Service. The naive will not comprehend that the president cannot be endangered by demonstrators at SENS at which the president is not present. For many Americans, the light refuses to turn on.

In Nazi Germany did no one but Jews have anything to fear from the Gestapo?

By Stalin's time Lenin and Trotsky had eliminated all members of the "oppressor class," but that did not stop Stalin from sending millions of "enemies of the people" to the Gulag.

It is extremely difficult to hold even local police forces accountable. Who is going to hold accountable a federal police protected by Homeland Security and the president?

homepage: homepage: http://vdare.com/roberts/060123_dangers.htm

Let us tell them 24.Jan.2006 06:03

politicalscienceboy@yahoo.com politicalscienceboy@yahoo.com

The USA PATRIOT Act and the Fourth Amendment: Void Where Prohibited by Law
November 2005

The first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution, known as the Bill of Rights, were adopted to protect the people from the new federal form of government. The preamble to the Bill of Rights states that the amendments are to "prevent misconstruction or abuse of powers." The Bill of Rights have come to be viewed by Americans as a vital component for the protection of individual liberty; limiting potential actions by the government that may harm privacy and autonomy. However, the national response to the September 11th terrorist attacks has challenged, and virtually altered the established language of the Bill of Rights by giving extra powers to the executive branch of the government. This executive privilege theory was advocated by John Locke in his Second Treatise of Government, where he discusses the term "prerogative", meaning: "the power to act according to discretion, for the public good, without the support of the law and sometimes even against it." Locke notes: "many things there are which the law can by no means provide for; and those that must necessarily be left to the discretion of him that has executive power in his hands... Indeed, it is appropriate that the laws themselves should in some cases give way to the executive power" The September 11th, 2001, terrorist attacks have transformed the relationship between national security, federalism, and civil liberties via the USA PATRIOT Act—most notably the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The act was intended to provide broad new powers to the federal government, particularly in the area of information gathering for suspected terrorists residing within the United States. Since the USA PATROIOT Act became law, many have criticized the act, alleging that Americans have suffered a serious loss of civil liberties. I will attempt to explain to what degree this act infringes on the rights granted to persons through the Bill of Rights; arguing that the Act not just weakens, but fully disembowels the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The Fourth Amendment reads as follows: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." The Amendment by and large contains two clauses: one speaking to unreasonable searches and seizures, and the other discussing the requirements for the issuance of warrants. The USA PATRIOT Act, an acronym for: "Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism", passed by Congress in October 2001, profoundly harmed these necessary and natural rights of the people by setting up secret courts to approve subpoenas for the seizure of documents and records—skirting the line of "reasonable". Some people may argue that the "reasonableness" standard actually provides for more government intrusion into our lives, rather than serving as a barrier for the government to overcome in order to legitimize questionable search and seizure actions. Importantly, the Act also comes into conflict with the ideas underlying a number of other clauses in the Bill of Rights other than the Fourth Amendment including; the right to due process in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, and the Eighth Amendment prohibition on excessive bail. These latter Bill of Rights provisions are necessary in preventing arbitrary deprivations of liberty. As Benjamin Franklin declared in his Historical Review of Philadelphia (1759), "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

I believe that if we don't have privacy, we don't have control over our lives. Our Founding Fathers learned this from British occupiers, which is why they incorporated the inalienable, fundamental right of privacy into the Bill of Rights. Our government knows this, and if the American people don't realize it soon, it will be too late. The expanded government surveillance ability provided by the USPA specifically endangers privacy rights guaranteed in the Fourth Amendment in these ways: "It permits seizure of personal records based solely upon a certification that the items are sought in an international terrorism investigation without requiring any showing of individualized suspicion as is ordinarily required for a search or a seizure warrant; it authorizes sneak-and-peek searches violating Federal Code by delaying the notice of search warrants; and it violates computer users' reasonable expectations of privacy by permitting the tracking of an individual's internet usage and e-mail communications." One person summed up these constitutional infractions by stating: "Ashcroft and his people had written the magna carta of federal agents, freeing them to wiretap and search with little judicial oversight."

The USPA allows the FBI to gather anybody's: business records, library records, medical records, mental health records, financial records, video rental records, travel records, student records, employment records including drug testing, immigration records maintained by non-profit agencies, fingerprints, DNA samples from a person's hair, information on the purchase or sale of books or firearms and more. Although worded to appear as if these record-collecting powers will be only used against suspected foreign terrorists, the USPA specifically allows the FBI to use these powers against U.S. citizens.

"Sneak-and-peek" searches are arguably the most controversial element of the USPA. In carrying out sneak-and-peek searches, federal agents are required to show as with conventional search warrants, that there is probable cause to believe evidence of criminal activity will be found on the premises to be searched. Unlike conventional search warrants, sneak-and-peek warrants authorize law enforcement secret entry to the premises to be searched and collect information rather than seizing physical items, with delayed notice to the owner of the premises. The problem is, if a person does not know his home or office has been searched or what was taken, they don't have ability to determine if the government actions were justified within the context of the Fourth Amendment, and will be unable to challenge the search with any kind of defense. Even more troubling, the recipients of such warrants are gagged under punishment of prison. They are not even allowed to tell their lawyer! Certainly, some may advocate an outright ban of sneak-and-peek warrants with the justification that allowing law enforcement to sneak into premises without notice, offensive to the warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment. Proponents for sneak-and-peek warrants argue that such searches are necessary in circumstances where executing a warrant without delayed notice would jeopardize a terrorist investigation by tipping off the suspect, resulting in the destruction or removal evidence and putting any informants in danger. Yet, the clear terms of Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 41 require that an officer executing a warrant must: "(A) give a copy of the warrant and a receipt for the property taken to the person from whom, or from whose premises, the property was taken; or (B) leave a copy of the warrant and receipt at the place where the officer took the property."

Under Title 18 of the United States code, the FBI has the authority to intercept: "wire, oral, or electronic communications." Prior to doing so, they must obtain a warrant from a federal judge, showing that a crime has been committed. What if the FBI wants to know what websites a person has been surfing on the internet without any evidence, probable cause, or even reasonable suspicion to believe that person has committed a crime? The Man need not worry because the USPA significantly lowers the threshold for obtaining a warrant for internet traffic, showing e-mail addresses, IP addresses, what sites a suspect visited and what they did while on those websites. According to the USPA, the only thing the FBI needs to secure a warrant to gain access to such private information is simply tell a judge that they are conducting an "investigation to protect against international terrorism" or the information to be gathered is "relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation." Since many people maintain their "papers and effects" on their computer hard drives, the expansion of electronic surveillance can mean the collection of more private information than just e-mail and IP addresses. Legitimate concerns have been raised about how to protect expectations of privacy when FBI surveillance is applied to rapidly growing internet technology. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis argued that: "The Progress of science is furnishing the government with means of espionage is not likely to stop with wire-tapping... Can it be that the Constitution affords no protection against invasions of individual security." The USPA also allows for "roving" wiretaps, following a person wherever he or she goes, including: "a neighbor's computer, a library computer, home or office computer, and any phone that person may use." Yes, the USPA has been widely portrayed as a dark moment for the civil liberties of internet users. Many argue that the USPA has created unjustifiable expansion of law enforcement in cyberspace. One civil liberties group, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), proclaimed that: "the civil liberties of ordinary Americans have taken a tremendous blow with this law, especially the right to privacy in our on-line communications and activities." EFF says that many of provisions are aimed at nonviolent "cybercrimes" that do not involve terrorism at all. The website of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) featured a drawing of a tombstone that stated: "The Fourth Amendment: 1789-2001."

The USPA defenders claim that average citizens have nothing to fear, and civil libertarians argue that the law opens the door for FBI agents practice domestic spying. Who is right? In 2003, the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) joined with the American Bookseller's Foundation for Free Expression, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, and the American Library Association's Freedom to Read Foundation sued the Department of Justice under the Freedom of Information Act in an attempt to obtain records on how often the U.S. government has used the records-seizing provision provided under the USPA. Of particular concern is the seizing of records from bookstores and libraries with no evidence of criminal activity. The lawsuit ended with a district court ruling in favor of the Department of Justice, denying the ACLU's motion to compel the government documents."

Unsurprisingly, there is genuine concern by many Americans that the federal government is using terrorism as an excuse to spy on activists who speak out against the government. It is troublesome that the FBI would investigate a person or group based only on that person or group's exercise of First Amendment rights. The ACLU, probably the largest organization opposed to the USPA, allege that: "The main effect of new surveillance powers is to make it easier for the FBI to spy on ordinary people who are suspected neither of crime nor of working for a hostile government or terrorist organization." Domestic spying abuses by the FBI were common during the civil rights movement, and congressional oversight of those civil rights abuses has been virtually nonexistent. Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, James Sensenbrenner argued that, "We can have security without throwing respect for civil liberties in the trash heap. We don't want to go back to the bad old days when the FBI was spying on people like MLK Jr." According to previously classified documents released last month, the FBI has conducted secret surveillance on U.S. residents without following Department of Justice (DOJ) guidelines. In some instances, federal agents seized bank records without authorization and obtained e-mails after warrants had expired. I believe that local law enforcement resources must not be used for intelligence gathering for political groups. This jeopardizes the trust built between law enforcement and the citizens within the community. To combat this malfeasance, many cities throughout the United States have passed resolutions banning the USPA in their communities. In November, 2002, Eugene became the 15th city in the U.S. to pass a resolution opposing the USPA.