December 20, 2005
Serendipity Strikes Again
This Reuters article desperately wants to hand ammunition to those who would repeal the Patriot Act in its entirety, not merely refuse to reauthorize selected portions. It argues that criminal prosecutions of terrorists have been hit-and-miss:
Four years after September 11, the Bush administration has claimed some legal victories in its war on terrorism, but critics say there have been few major convictions and not a single trial of anyone caught trying to carry out an attack.
In a media blitz over the past few weeks to build support for renewal of parts of the Patriot Act -- passed after September 11, to expand authority of the federal government to track down terrorism suspects -- Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has recited a laundry list of legal victories by the government....
But while critics acknowledge the government had scored some legal victories, they questioned how major they were.
"What's the most remarkable fact is that we have yet to see any al Qaeda terror cell uncovered in the United States," said Georgetown University law professor David Cole.
"Apart from Richard Reid, we have yet to see any prosecution of any individual attempting to engage in a terrorist act," he said.
(Reuters dances around the apparent contradiction of the bolded phrases above by noting that Reid did not actually go to trial... he pled guilty and received a life sentence. Ah, yes. I see the distinction now.)
But in trying to make this anti-Patriot Act case, all Reuters does is highlight how difficult it is to gain a conviction in cases involving highly organized and professional terrorist groups; they cite as climax the case of Sami al-Arian, charged with seventeen counts -- and acquitted on eight, hung jury on the other nine (which include "some of the most serious", the MSM now admits, I think for the first time).
Yup... and that's why terrorism cannot be fought in the courts alone; that is why we also need an aggressive and forward-based military response to al-Qaeda and other jihadi groups, dummy!
Because of the national-security need to protect sources and methods and the urgent necessity to capture terrorists and disrupt their attacks before they're carried out -- we can't wait until after the bomb goes off, thanks -- we often have to go to trial with very little tangible evidence that can be introduced into open court. The criminal justice system is ill-equipped to deal with acts of war, like invasion, missile attack, or terrorism. The primary value of the Patriot Act is to facilitate investigation (roving wiretaps, business records, and gag rules) and communication between different agencies (primarily the CIA and domestic law enforcement).
And thanks for making that case, Reuters!
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 20, 2005, at the time of 2:37 PM
TrackBack URL for this hissing: http://biglizards.net/mt3.36/earendiltrack.cgi/338
The following hissed in response by: yonason
" --we can't wait until after the bomb goes off..."
Lets not be hasty, my good man! I think we should at least give it a trial period, on a limited scale of course. We could start with, oh......, say Hiannis Port, MA.?
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