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Thread: PATRIOT Act II

  1. #1
    AO Security for Non-Geeks tonybradley's Avatar
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    Aug 2002


    One has to question how much the tail was wagging the dog on December 13. Saddam Hussein was "captured" (translation= hand-delivered in a drugged stupor by his true captors) which completely altered headline news for the next week and drew all of the attention away from the fact that Bush also chose that auspicious Saturday to sign into law a vast expansion of the "Hey- the Bill or Rights is for wimps. If you like the Bill of Rights you must be a terrorist" PATRIOT Act. Now, in Dubya's defense, Congress passed the bill a couple weeks prior and observant constituents should have already taken notice and raised the issue with their respective congressman and senators. But, it still seems more than a little suspicious that they chose to seemingly "orchestrate" a media event with the capture of Saddam which in effect buried this news story.

    On December 13, when U.S. forces captured Saddam Hussein, President George W. Bush not only celebrated with his national security team, but also pulled out his pen and signed into law a bill that grants the FBI sweeping new powers. A White House spokesperson explained the curious timing of the signing - on a Saturday - as "the President signs bills seven days a week." But the last time Bush signed a bill into law on a Saturday happened more than a year ago - on a spending bill that the President needed to sign, to prevent shuttng down the federal government the following Monday.

    By signing the bill on the day of Hussein's capture, Bush effectively consigned a dramatic expansion of the USA Patriot Act to a mere footnote. Consequently, while most Americans watched as Hussein was probed for head lice, few were aware that the FBI had just obtained the power to probe their financial records, even if the feds don't suspect their involvement in crime or terrorism.

    By signing the bill on the day of Hussein's capture, Bush effectively consigned a dramatic expansion of the USA Patriot Act to a mere footnote.

    The Bush Administration and its Congressional allies tucked away these new executive powers in the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004, a legislative behemoth that funds all the intelligence activities of the federal government. The Act included a simple, yet insidious, redefinition of "financial institution," which previously referred to banks, but now includes stockbrokers, car dealerships, casinos, credit card companies, insurance agencies, jewelers, airlines, the U.S. Post Office, and any other business "whose cash transactions have a high degree of usefulness in criminal, tax, or regulatory matters."

    Congress passed the legislation around Thanksgiving. Except for U.S. Representative Charlie Gonzalez, all San Antonio's House members voted for the act. The Senate passed it with a voice vote to avoid individual accountability. While broadening the definition of "financial institution," the Bush administration is ramping up provisions within the 2001 USA Patriot Act, which granted the FBI the authority to obtain client records from banks by merely requesting the records in a "National Security Letter." To get the records, the FBI doesn't have to appear before a judge, nor demonstrate "probable cause" - reason to believe that the targeted client is involved in criminal or terrorist activity. Moreover, the National Security Letters are attached with a gag order, preventing any financial institution from informing its clients that their records have been surrendered to the FBI. If a financial institution breaches the gag order, it faces criminal penalties. And finally, the FBI will no longer be required to report to Congress how often they have used the National Security Letters.

    Supporters of expanding the Patriot Act claim that the new law is necessary to prevent future terrorist attacks on the U.S. The FBI needs these new powers to be "expeditious and efficient" in its response to these new threats. Robert Summers, professor of international law and director of the new Center for Terrorism Law at St. Mary's University, explains, "We don't go to war with the terrorists as we went to war with the Germans or the North Vietnamese. If we apply old methods of following the money, we will not be successful. We need to meet them on an even playing field to avoid another disaster."

    "It's a problem that some of these riders that are added on may not receive the scrutiny that we would like to see."
    Robert Summers

    Opponents of the PATRIOT Act and its expansion claim that safeguards like judicial oversight and the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable search and seizure, are essential to prevent abuses of power. "There's a reason these protections were put into place," says Chip Berlet, senior analyst at Political Research Associates, and a historian of U.S. political repression. "It has been shown that if you give [these agencies] this power they will abuse it. For any investigative agency, once you tell them that they must make sure that they protect the country from subversives, it inevitably gets translated into a program to silence dissent."

    Opponents claim the FBI already has all the tools to stop crime and terrorism. Moreover, explains Patrick Filyk, an attorney and vice president of the local chapter of the ACLU, "The only thing the act accomplishes is the removal of judicial oversight and the transfer of more power to law enforcements agents."

    This broadening of the Patriot Act represents a political victory for the Bush Administration's stealth legislative strategy to increase executive power. Last February, shortly before Bush launched the war on Iraq, the Center for Public Integrity obtained a draft of a comprehensive expansion of the Patriot Act, nicknamed Patriot Act II, written by Attorney General John Ashcroft's staff. Again, the timing was suspicious; it appeared that the Bush Administration was waiting for the start of the Iraq war to introduce Patriot Act II, and then exploit the crisis to ram it through Congress with little public debate.

    The leak and ensuing public backlash frustrated the Bush administration's strategy, so Ashcroft and Co. disassembled Patriot Act II, then reassembled its parts into other legislation. By attaching the redefinition of "financial institution" to an Intelligence Authorization Act, the Bush Administration and its Congressional allies avoided public hearings and floor debates for the expansion of the Patriot Act.

    Even proponents of this expansion have expressed concern about these legislative tactics. "It's a problem that some of these riders that are added on may not receive the scrutiny that we would like to see," says St. Mary's Professor Robert Summers.

    The Bush Administration has yet to answer pivotal questions about its latest constitutional coup: If these new executive powers are necessary to protect United States citizens, then why would the legislation not withstand the test of public debate? If the new act's provisions are in the public interest, why use stealth in ramming them through the legislative process?
    Full article: WITH A WHISPER, NOT A BANG

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    hey try this theory!
    saddam deals with bush , gives one of his dummies,US declares DNA tests have been comfirmed,WORLD celebrates-saddam also celebrates!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    You know what. I am getting sick and tired of Bush. Someone tell me WHAT THE HELL EVER HAPPENED, to the BILL OF RIGHTS. The CONSTITUTION. This is just Bullshit. I for one will be going into congress personally and bitching about this.

    What the hell. **** there was no such thing as privacy and gvt. control before. Now it is even less. This is just Bullshit.

    The ACLU needs to get off it's ass and use some of that Lobbying power that is has. And fast

    I can't take it. I leaving this ****ing Country in a yr. I can't take this **** anymore.

  4. #4
    Macht Nicht Aus moxnix's Avatar
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    May 2002
    Huson Mt.
    Seems like our dear old U.S.A. government officials have taken a few pages from 'The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich".
    \"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, Champagne in one hand - strawberries in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming WOO HOO - What a Ride!\"
    Author Unknown

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    Oct 2003
    Nothing new it was gonna happen eventually. But since most people dont care to watch or pay attention to politics oh well they loose. Anyways what is privacy anymore ? Go to the mall, talk on the phone, walk out in the street. Your privacy is slowly diminishing all around you but it seems that a lot of you have just caught up until now. Just think about CCTV systems, cellphones, VOIp , Internet, credit cards, smart cards ... Just think real hard and you'll soon realize how much privacy you really have left ... So to me this is nothing new ...

    I read about it and was surprise at how many people didn't know about this. Maybe it's time that some of you guys start paying attention to the news ... That's all
    Operation Cyberslam
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  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Mar 2003
    Sadly, this has more or less been happening for decades now in some form or another; at times fairly public
    and at others quite secretive. Perhaps worse these days is the invasion of your personal lives by the retailers
    and corporations you and I do business with. The GAP certainly does _not_ need to know my phone number,
    and Abercrombie and Fitch doesn't need to know my email address, etc. ad nauseum.

    A book I would recommend to all Information Security types, and those who just enjoy getting all worked up
    and paranoid is 'Database Nation, the death of privacy in the 21st century' (

    -- spurious
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  7. #7
    They call me the Hunted foxyloxley's Avatar
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    Nov 2003
    3rd Rock from Sun
    It would appear that your President is taking the 'agressive' stance against terrorism, and unfortunately, there will always be some SNAFU at these times. At least you (America) HAS a written constitution, here (UK) we are being shafted for the same reasons, and we cannot even say that it is against the law / constitution / bill of rights as our own peculiar laws are made and passed (it seems) as and when required, and when the reason for the law has passed, we still have the law on our books. as an example, our own anti-terrorism laws were drafted to combat the IRA, and as this threat has now passed, (this is the reason we have the best trained urban warfare troops, real life training ground ) you would imagine that the law would be re-voked? But NO, it has been strengthened to increase the time that a suspect can be held, (without legal assist) and weakened the reasons for the law to be in-voked in the first place. My own cynical view, is that we (Western World) are being 'groomed' to accept the "inevitability" of war against ANYONE that is said to have offended our culture / sensability / rights. On the other hand: is it true that Dubya is up for re-election soon ???
    55 - I'm fiftyfeckinfive and STILL no wiser,
    OLDER yes
    Beware of Geeks bearing GIF's
    come and waste the day :P at The Taz Zone

  8. #8
    Purveyor of Lather Syini666's Avatar
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    Aug 2001
    Originally posted here by foxyloxley
    is it true that Dubya is up for re-election soon ???
    Yes the election year is almost beginning, or may have begun ( i dont follow the presidential race very closely ) and due to the recent capture of Saddam, Bush's approval rating is up, and will most likely sweep the election, unlike the previous one he had to buy.

    tonybradey > did you see the section on encryption, and that merely using it in commiting a crime can get you ten years in jail plus whatever you get for the crime itself. Heres a summary of the encryption portion...

    Broadly Criminalizing Encryption of Evidence

    Meanwhile, in your search for a shred of privacy that might remain to you, don't even think about trying to protect your email. Under Patriot II, the government may go after you for that, too.

    Specifically, Patriot II, as currently drafted, would makes it a new, separate crime to use encryption in the commission of another crime. To be convicted, the defendant must be shown to have "knowingly and willfully use[d] encryption technology to conceal any incriminating communication" relating to a federal felony he is committing, or attempting to commit.

    The "federal crime" limitation may seem significant, until you realize that "domestic terrorism" - which can be based on a state law violation - is a federal crime. Remember, too, how loosely "domestic terrorism" is defined, in a way that could encompass a protester's resisting arrest, and if you do, you may reasonably fear using encryption even if you are not engaged in any criminal activity at all.

    What if your encrypted email about protest planning is deemed "incriminating evidence" of your plan to resist arrest at the protest? You could be looking at five to ten.

    The penalty for this offense alone would be up to ten years in prison. In addition, a Justice Department analysis included with the proposal suggests that the illegal encrypting ought to carry a mandatory minimum term of five years in prison.

    Notably, the federal felony relating to the "incriminating communication" need not be an act of terrorism. It could be any federal crime, from the most major to the most minor, the most violent to the most excruciatingly technical. And that's frightening.

    For instance, if a peer-to-peer website's users swap files, thus violating the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, and encrypt the files they are swapping, they may automatically face five years in prison, and could serve ten, for the encryption alone.

    What is most shocking about the new encryption crime is that it is not limited to terrorism. This is the first attempt to regulate encryption domestically at all.
    It seems to me that means my email is subject to a search even if I simply got in a fist fight outside a bar and was arrested. Or as the snippet mentioned about protests, are all anti-war and anti-bush prorestors going to be persecuted under the new laws?

    I have to agree completely with the statements of dissapearing privacy, except that I don't think any is left at this point
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  9. #9
    They call me the Hunted foxyloxley's Avatar
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    Nov 2003
    3rd Rock from Sun
    That message from Syini666 is well scary, the Fed's would appear to have you over a barrel with that "domestic terrorism" clause. I have assumed (possibly incorrectly) that the forces of law and order, automatically 'capture' and read ALL encrypted data ? In the UK we have GCHQ doing it to us, plus a little part of the US of A manned by your NSA bods in N Yorkshire are also involved. But, this is what we KNOW ? God knows how advanced the powers that be really are, although, working on the assumption that they don't reveal anything until the successor is up and running (see the US military, Re :- stealth tech, and the Blackbird Mk2 'Aurora' ) and the implications, are at the very least, enormous. It used to be said that "Unity is Strength" or something along those lines. Nowadays, unity just makes you a bigger target ??
    55 - I'm fiftyfeckinfive and STILL no wiser,
    OLDER yes
    Beware of Geeks bearing GIF's
    come and waste the day :P at The Taz Zone

  10. #10

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