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.