Friday, June 10, 2005

Get Your Patriot Act Together

What's wrong with this picture?

In a speech to the Ohio State Patrol Academy on Thursday, President Bush said, "The Patriot Act closed dangerous gaps in America's law enforcement and intelligence capabilities, gaps that terrorists exploited when they attacked us."

In reality, the dangerous gaps in law enforcement and intelligence capabilities are still there, and the Patriot Act offers little if anything to help close them.

A Justice Department report made public on Thursday reveals that the FBI and CIA had all the information they needed to stop at least two of the 9-11 attackers, but managed to drop it in a cauldron of bureaucracy, clunky computer technology, and inter-agency rivalry.

Almost three years and $170 million later, the FBI's computer system still isn't fixed. And it appears the bureaucracy and inter-agency rivalry isn't either.

"The problem has been recognized," says MSNBC analyst Rick Francona, but the system hasn't "caught up" yet. Was the lack or information sharing between agencies something that the Patriot Act resolved? "It was a mindset," says Francona, referring to the reluctance of agencies to share information that might allow a rival organization to get credit for breaking a case.

I've only read the complete Patriot Act once, but I'm pretty sure there's nothing in it that keeps our law enforcement and intelligence officials from acting like children.

Aside from vague, unsubstantiated claims by Mister Bush and other administration officials, no one has offered credible evidence that the Patriot Act has enabled apprehension of any potential terrorists who wouldn't have been rounded up without the Patriot Act.

The only tangible thing the Patriot Act has done is infringe on individual rights guaranteed by the first, fourth, fifth, sixth, eighth, and fourteenth amendments of the United States Constitution.

America doesn't need the Patriot Act. America's Dick Tracy and James Bond wannabes need to get their acts together.

JLH

3 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  2. With all due respect, your expertise on naval aviation doesn't really qualify you as an expert on the Patriot Act.

    As a guy who works with it often, I can attest that it is vital to our success in the war on terror.

    And I resent the Dick Tracey and James Bond wannabee crack.

    It is beneath you, Commander Maverick (aka Tom Cruise)

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  3. Thanks for stoping by.

    You might want to wander your mind beyond the carrier experience noted in my profile and look at my other credentials (modest as they are.)

    You might also notice that I was not an F-14 Tomcat pilot as Tom Cruise was in the film you reference.

    Resent the Dick Tracy/Tom Cruise crack all you want. I submit that it's an accurate assessment.

    How exactly is the Patriot Act "vital" to our "success" in the war on terror? More importantly, how do you measure our effors in the "war on terror" as succesful?

    If it's so successful, how come we still need to tromp on six or more articles of the Bill of Rights?

    Do you think, just maybe, that if the terrorists have manipulated us into giving up our constitutional rights, that maybe they, not us, are winning?

    Jeff

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