Gonzales Admits Patriot Act Could be Changed
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
(SNN) Attorney General Alberto Gonzales told senators today that he would be open to changes in the USA Patriot Act, which is up for renewal this year. However, Gonzales urged congressmen to keep all the major provisions of the bill if they valued their safety.
Without the Patriot Act we would have experienced multiple terrorist attacks during the past 3 years
Gonzales told the Senate Judiciary Committee that without the Patriot Act we would have experienced multiple terrorist attacks during the past 3 years. "Thanks in part to the act, we have dismantled terrorist cells, disrupted terrorist plots and captured terrorists before they could strike," Gonzales said. Gonzales claimed that he was very open minded to changes to the bill, as long as they gave him more power.
Despite the fact that the Patriot Act allows the DOJ and FBI to do pretty much whatever they hell they want, Gonzales and FBI Director Robert Mueller assured Congress that the act’s massive search and surveillance powers had been used narrowly to monitor the reading habits and personal data on a broad range of people. Gonzales also admitted the Justice Department “took too long” to report to Congress on how the act had been used. Gonzales promised that in the future information would be more forthcoming, now that it had been established how much Congress is allowed to know.
The Patriot Act allows the DOJ and FBI to do pretty much whatever they hell they want
Several members of the Judiciary Committee said they approved of Gonzales’s approach much more then that of Secretary Ashcroft. "The attorney general has now announced that he too recognizes that our concerns are not so far-fetched," said Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wis., who cast the lone Senate vote against the act, which gave the FBI broad new police and surveillance powers. Feingold went on to say that he had grown quite fond of Gonzales, who’s respectful and soft-spoken manner reminded the Senator of his gardener.
Director Mueller also said that he wanted to assure the Judiciary committee that the FBI had never used the Patriot Act’s powers to seek library or gun-sale search orders. Although Mueller later admitted that the FBI had obtained some library records by request without using the act. This will calm the fears of many Americans that a terrorist might check out books from the library and not return them.