Sunday, September 14, 2003

Now, If We Can Just Broaden the Definition of Terror A Little . . .

". . . (I)n a plan announced this week to expand counterterrorism powers, President Bush adopted a very different tack. In a three-point presidential plan that critics are already dubbing Patriot Act II, Mr. Bush is seeking broad new authority to allow federal agents — without the approval of a judge or even a federal prosecutor — to demand private records and compel testimony.

Mr. Bush also wants to expand the use of the death penalty in crimes like terrorist financing, and he wants to make it tougher for defendants in such cases to be freed on bail before trial. These proposals are also sure to prompt sharp debate, even among Republicans.

Opponents say that the proposal to allow federal agents to issue subpoenas without the approval of a judge or grand jury will significantly expand the law enforcement powers granted by Congress after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. And they say it will also allow the Justice Department — after months of growing friction with some judges — to limit the role of the judiciary still further . . ."




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