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I'd Tap That: Patriot Act Hysteria

"They have taken us much farther down the road toward an intrusive, 'big brother'-style government -- toward the dangers prophesied by George Orwell in his book 1984."
-Al Gore, November 10th, 2003, on the U.S. Patriot Act

After you recover from hearing a Democrat describe 1984 as "dangerous" rather than "desirable," take a moment to recognize the pattern of hysteria coming from the Left. "Big Brother is here!" cries the Liberal.

Someone who can't even pronounce "nuclear" is our new Big Brother? I bet he pulled off 9/11 too? Yep, he's certainly cunning. There is nothing but hysteria from the Left, and it leaves one waiting for substance; waiting for an argument rooted in facts, not emotions. I'm just waiting for them to push someone in front of camera to say "I got tapped. I got searched. I got thrown in jail and they wouldn't tell me why. I was forced to eat non-organic vegetables. It was awful."

But they haven't. Have you been tapped? Can you think of someone who's been tapped? Know anybody who knows anybody who can think of someone who's been tapped? Anyone whose privacy and civil liberties have been violated?

Let's look at some numbers, since the inception of the Patriot Act through 2004:*


People living in the United States: over 300,000,000
Civil rights complaints to the Justice Department: 7,136
Complaints deemed related to the U.S. Patriot Act: 1
Sneak and peek warrants (allowing searches without notifying the subject): 155
Roving wiretaps: 49
Personal records seizures under section 215 of the act: 35
*Published by Los Angeles Times

Just something to think about. So what do we get in return?

Well, the 144,000 cars that pass over the Brooklyn Bridge every day don't have to find alternate routes, because the bridge is still standing. Jihad would have come to the East River had it not been for wiretapping and interrogation thwarting the 2002 plot, which was masterminded by none other than Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the man blamed for planning 9/11.

Above: Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.
I'd definitely tap that.

The operation was to be headed by Lyman Faris, a 34 year old truck driver. Lyman was a naturalized citizen who had immigrated from Kashmir. He had been to Pakistan and Afghanistan and had met with bin Laden, but fortunately was arrested before he could carry out the operation.

As a naturalized citizen, he was given access to an attorney. While in custody, he was allowed to make phone calls, which were then monitored with a warrant by the FBI. When the words "the bridge in the Godzilla movie" appeared repeatedly in Faris’ conversations, New York City officials understood the Brooklyn Bridge was a potential target.

“The bridge in the Godzilla movie?" I wasn't aware Al Jazeera had a movie channel.

When the FBI intercepted the information that Faris had been assigned to assess the Brooklyn Bridge, his lawyer told investigators he was "convinced this information came from Khalid Shaikh Mohammed," who had just been arrested in Pakistan.

Federal authorities were allowed to interrogate Mohammed without giving him access to an attorney. The plot was revealed, and this year the Brooklyn Bridge will be 125 years old.

The Patriot Act also stopped a dirty bomb plot in Chicago, a plot to destroy the Toronto stock exchange, attacks on ships in the Strait of Hormuz, the obliteration of the United States embassy in Paris, an attack on New York City's subway system, and the destruction of Chicago's Sears Tower.

So let's look at another number:


Number of attacks on American soil since 9/11: 0

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  • Anonymous Keith said:
    Tuesday, March 04, 2008  

    Here, let me sell you my bear-repelling rock. I've been carrying it all my life now and never been attacked by a bear.

    There are two questions that need to be answered in regard to your case in favor of the PATRIOT Act: would these attacks that you mention at the bottom of your article have taken place if the government had been required to get a warrant? And what would be the possible repercussions of allowing employers, doctors, law offices, libraries, etc to tell their clients/employees that their records have been searched?

    Was our intelligence really lacking before? We were warned about 9/11 just like we were warned about Pearl Harbor. We just didn't take them seriously. I'm not saying that this was a product of some conspiracy to bring fascism to the US, that we "let it happen" on purpose. I'm sure we get about ten million warnings a day. I'm just questioning whether or not there would have been another attack without the PATRIOT act.

    Also, I'm surprised there was even 1 charge pressed related to the act. How can you press charges against something that you don't know is happening? And I don't think there's much validity in arguing that the act hasn't been abused so far either. top

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