Draft language for the “Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003,” also known as “Patriot Act II,” amounts to little more than the institution of a “police state,” according to Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), the ranking Democrat on the Constitution Subcommittee, in the US House of Representatives.
“Secret arrests, stripping citizenship for political associations, DNA databases, new death penalties, bypassing the judicial process - these are the things that make up a police state,” said Rep. Nadler. “This dangerous proposal would relegate our fundamental constitutional rights to the status of historical trivia."
“It sets a frightening precedent,” he added.
As detailed in a report released by the Center for Public Integrity, the Justice Department has drafted language for a “next generation” Patriot Act. The draft text goes much further in its encroachment into civil liberties than did the original Patriot Act, which was signed by President Bush in 2002. A leaked copy of the bill can be found at https://www.public-i.org.
According to the Center’s report, Senior members of the Senate Judiciary Committee minority staff have inquired about Patriot II for months and have been told as recently as this week that there is no such legislation being planned.
Said Rep. Nadler, “It is very suspicious when the Congress is lied to by the Administration about the existence of a draft of a bill. Perhaps they were waiting for a more opportune moment to unveil the bill - maybe after a war has started in Iraq - to limit our ability to debate the issue.”
“Now more than ever, we will have to be resolute in our efforts to protect our Constitution from this Administration. The last time the Patriot Act was brought up, we had time to craft an acceptable compromise bill. However, that bill was summarily junked, and we were forced to vote on an Administration bill which none of us had ever read. This Administration does not seem to be interested in working with Members of either party to craft our laws. That is not what our Constitution is about,” he added.
Rep. Nadler has served in Congress since 1992. He represents the 8th Congressional District of New York, which includes parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn.