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Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003...
a.k.a. "PATRIOT Act II"

The USA PATRIOT Act was signed into law on Oct. 26, 2001. For months, Congressional legislative and committee staff have anticipated follow-up legislation. The Administration consistently indicated that, although many ideas were being considered, specific proposals weren't ready to be shared with Congress. However, on Friday, Feb. 7, 2003, the non-partisan Center for Public Integrity (CPI) posted on its website a copy of a confidential draft of proposed legislation dated Jan. 9, 2003, entitled the "Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003," together with a "control sheet" which appears to show that the confidential draft had been transmitted on Jan. 10, 2003, to House Speaker Hastert (IL) and Vice-President Cheney (presumably in his capacity as President of the Senate). Availability of the document was publicized by Bill Moyers on his Feb. 7, 2003, PBS TV program, "Now with Bill Moyers," when Mr. Moyers interviewed Charles Lewis, the head of CPI. The Justice Department did not dispute the authenticity of the draft, although it denied that Rep. Hastert or Vice-Pres. Cheney had been sent the document.

The proposed law would radically expand law enforcement and intelligence gathering authority; reduce or eliminate judicial oversight over certain surveillance; authorize secret arrests, detentions, and grand jury subpoenas; create a DNA database of individuals who are suspected of association with terrorism or terrorist groups; create new death penalty provisions; and empower the government to remove American citizenship from persons who belong to or support disfavored political groups.

SOME HIGHLIGHTS OF THE PROPOSED ACT:

Increases secret surveillance. The proposed act would create broad new powers of surveillance by the Administration, broadening the definitions of who can be secretly watched, the certification that the Administration must make to receive a warrant, and the circumstances in which the Administration can conduct surveillance without a warrant. It would terminate or alter consent decrees set up to curb illegal surveillance by local law enforcement authorities.

Increases control over immigrants.

The proposed act would expand the control of the Justice Department over immigration matters, including expedited deportation. It would criminalize many regulatory violations and remove judicial discretion from some immigration rulings.

Establishes new crimes, criminal procedures, and sanctions.

The proposed act would create new crimes, criminal procedures, and punishments relating to non-violent activities that could be linked to terrorism or groups deemed to be "terrorist groups" by the Administration. It would give the Justice Department new powers concerning certification of evidence, submission of secret evidence, and mandatory pretrial detention. It would permit surveillance of the content of home computers and multi-use handheld devices, and would permit surveillance of banking and credit accounts. It would expand the Justice Department's subpoena power to include "administrative subpoenas," issued without judicial oversight. It would increase the government's control over banking activities and further enhance money laundering provisions. It would make even standard encryption of Internet and e-mail messages an enhancement to other felonies.

Names new death penalty crimes.

The proposed law would provide for imposition of the death penalty for certain terrorism-related crimes.

Grants right to autopsy.

The proposed act would give federal officials power to order an autopsy without permission during a federal criminal investigation if the death occurred from terrorist attack or "other deadly crimes."

Decreases access to public information.

The proposed act would restrict public Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) access to public information about those detained during terrorism investigations. It would restrict available public information about potential pollution by private chemical businesses, curtailing environmental and local government oversight. The proposed act would also prohibit disclosure of information by witnesses and others subpoenaed in terrorism cases, transforming these investigations from public to secret.

Establishes a new terrorist-related DNA database.

The proposed act would create a DNA database under Justice Department control. Anyone the Administration suspects of association with terrorism would be forced to contribute DNA samples. Any "reasonably necessary" means could be used to get the samples, and failure to comply would bear criminal penalties. The DNA database information could be shared with state and local law enforcement agencies.

Alters procedure for taking away U.S. citizenship.

The proposed act would allow the government to strip a citizen of his or her citizenship by government inference of intent to relinquish citizenship, inference rising from behavior including fighting with a hostile foreign government or terrorist organization, or even engaging in lawful activities of a group designated as a "terrorist organization" by the Attorney General.

Allows extradition without treaty and expanded deportation.

The proposed act would permit extradition of individuals to countries with whom the U.S. has no extradition treaty. It would permit deportation to any location deemed acceptable by the Attorney General if deportation to the country of origin is "impracticable, inadvisable, or impossible," even if the destination's government is not recognized by the U.S. or it has no government at all.

The proposed act is laced with interactions between federal law enforcement activities and foreign intelligence activities. It would further intermingle traditionally separated federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. The proposed act completely by-passes the Homeland Security Department, new home to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and numerous crime and foreign intelligence operations. In addition, the provisions of this proposed act would represent a fundamental change from the Constitutional framework of separation of powers of the branches of government, to delegating power to the Administration without oversight or accountability. It would further decrease information about government functions to the public. The proposed act would remove numerous protective walls between government agencies, erected by statute and regulation to correct past abuses.


Reprinted with permission from the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) website: Found Here


For further information:

Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL)
245 Second Street, NE
Washington, DC, 20002-5795
(202) 547-6000, (800) 630-1330
fax: (202) 547-6019
email: fcnl@fcnl.org
www.fcnl.org

The Center for Public Integrity
910 17th Street, NW, Seventh Floor
Washington, DC 20006
(202) 466-1300
fax: (202) 466-1101
www.publicintegrity.org

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"For as adamant as my country has been about civil liberties during peacetime, it has a long history of failing to preserve civil liberties when it perceived its national security threatened. This series of failures is particularly frustrating in that it appears to result not from informed and rational decisions that protecting civil liberties would expose the United States to unacceptable security risks, but rather from the episodic nature of our security crises. But it has proven unable to prevent itself from repeating the error when the next crisis came along."
--Supreme Court Justice William Brennan
December 22, 1987



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