April 23, 2004

Dubya lies about the Patriot Act.

Dubya has been on the road this week, speaking about the need to renew the Patriot Act. (Given that this is also National Library Week, and that US librarians are providing some of the strongest opposition to the Patriot Act, the prez's timing is rather ironic.) As usual, Dubya is telling a lot of stories about what the Patriot Act does and doesn't do, and about how much danger the country will be in if Congress doesn't buckle under and renew one of the more repressive laws ever passed in the US.

The American Civil Liberties Union has been keeping track of what Dubya's been saying, and they think he's just a bit south of the truth. According to ACLU executive director Anthony Romero, the prez is guilty of 'misinformation, pure and simple. The administration is making a series of deliberate misstatements to deceive the American public.'

To help in the fight to defeat the renewal of the Patriot Act, the ACLU has posted a handy guide to Dubya's 'misstatements':

The President:

"I'm not a lawyer, so it's kind of hard for me to kind of get bogged down in the law. (Applause). I'm not going to play like one, either. (Laughter.) The way I viewed it, if I can just put it in simple terms, is that one part of the FBI couldn't tell the other part of the FBI vital information because of the law. And the CIA and the FBI couldn't talk."

The Truth:

The CIA and the FBI could talk and did. As Janet Reno wrote in prepared testimony before the 9/11 commission, "There are simply no walls or restrictions on sharing the vast majority of counterterrorism information. There are no legal restrictions at all on the ability of the members of the intelligence community to share intelligence information with each other.

"With respect to sharing between intelligence investigators and criminal investigators, information learned as a result of a physical surveillance or from a confidential informant can be legally shared without restriction.

"While there were restrictions placed on information gathered by criminal investigators as a result of grand jury investigations or Title III wire taps, in practice they did not prove to be a serious impediment since there was very little significant information that could not be shared."

Posted by Magpie at April 23, 2004 06:54 AM | Civil Liberties | Technorati links |