Weather Forecast


American Opinion: On FBI Patriot Act abuse:

An excerpt from recent editorials in newspapers in the United States:

On FBI Patriot Act abuse:

One of the greatest risks posed by the "Patriot Act" -- a loosening of safeguards on personal freedom hurriedly passed while the fires of 9/11 still burned -- was that the new powers it granted would be easy to abuse.

Merely claiming an investigation involved a possible terrorist threat was enough to allow the most intrusive techniques American law enforcement agencies have ever been allowed. The FBI promised it would not use the new authority against constitutionally protected freedoms, but the temptation is apparently very great.

A report released recently by the Justice Department's inspector general found the FBI had misled Congress and the public by covering its investigative tracks with "inaccurate and misleading" information.

Most of us regard deliberate deceit as another term for lying, but the inspector general soft-pedaled the language and declined to call the behavior what it was. To actually use the term "lying" would have suggested felonious behavior by the FBI and may have required prosecution.

The issue behind the report involved the FBI's targeting of a 2002 anti-war rally in Pittsburgh. The agency characterized its interest in the rally as a terrorism investigation when it knew good and well it was nothing of the sort. ...

The agency has since been asked to review the way it handles investigations of domestic organizations.

We hope that includes better safeguards against casually invoking the Patriot Act against clearly lawful activities.

Constitutional rights are not loopholes. ...

-- The Staten Island Advance