Snatching VICTORY From the Jaws of Defeat

On February 7, the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Public Integrity revealed that it had obtained a draft of proposed legislation, officially entitled “The Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003” but referred to unofficially, as it made the rounds of Capitol Hill, as “PATRIOT II.”  CPI made a scanned copy of the act available on its website and issued a special report outlining the major provisions of PATRIOT II, including new restrictions on Freedom of Information Act requests regarding suspected terrorists detained by the federal government; similar restrictions on access to any documents filed with the Environmental Protection Agency by companies that use dangerous chemicals, because such documents are required to outline a “worst-case scenario,” which, CPI noted, “the bill’s drafters refer to as ‘a roadmap for terrorists’”; the “creation of a DNA database on ‘suspected terrorists,’ expansively defined to include association with suspected terrorist groups”; the abolition of almost all federal consent decrees entered into by state and local law-enforcement agencies before September 11, 2001, because such decrees, which were ordered by courts as a result of “police spying abuses,” could hamper terrorism investigations; the presumptive denial of pretrial release to those charged with terrorism-related crimes; and the expansion of...

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