Thursday, April 28, 2005

Renew USA Patriot Act now

I’m guessing the favorite reality show of the radical left is "Fear Factor" or more appropriately, a show called "Scare Tactics," which is shown on one of the cable channels high on the television dial. Either title is appropriate to describe the campaign of misinformation and distortion the alarmist left has pursued against the USA Patriot Act.

The Patriot Act is one of the best laws ever passed by Congress. It gives authorities the tools needed to protect U.S. citizens from terrorism at home by expanding laws that were already available to prosecutors for standard crime fighting to cover cases of suspected terrorists.

Since President Bush signed it into law shortly after the 9/11 attacks, the Patriot Act has been a cornerstone of this country’s war on terror. The proof is in the pudding. There have been no acts of terrorism on U.S. soil since the Patriot Act was signed into law. Terrorist plots have been foiled repeatedly since 2001 and dozens of suspected terrorists are behind bars. And to date, there has not been a single instance where the American Civil Liberties Union and its allies in the liberal media can cite abuse of the Patriot Act by the government.

Can you imagine the coverage in The New York Times or CBS News or CNN if the rights of a single American were violated by the Patriot Act?

More than a dozen key provisions of the Patriot Act will expire at the end of this year if Congress doesn’t renew them. President Bush has urged Congress to act swiftly in renewing the Patriot Act, but the Just Say No Party (formerly known as the Democrats) has lined up against a law with a proven track record of protecting American citizens.

Opponents of the Patriot Act (the usual suspects, including the always-reliable ACLU) have spent millions of dollars on a propaganda campaign to confuse and intimidate the American public. Never letting facts get in the way, the ACLU and its Democrat allies have spread all kinds of rumors about the government agencies keeping track of the library books people check out or Web sites they visit or prying into medical records. None of it is true.

Here are the cold, hard facts: The Bush administration has used the Patriot Act’s powers to listen to cell phone conversations and examine business records of individuals or firms with suspected terrorist ties just 84 times since 2001, according to Congressional testimony.

That’s 84 cases of the thousands of leads or tips the government has received and investigated since the Patriot Act was adopted. And again, not a single complaint has been received, not a single lawsuit filed, not a single American has come forward with any evidence they’ve been harmed by the Patriot Act.

In every case where the government has used surveillance on suspected terrorists, the FBI or other agents had to obtain a warrant from a federal judge. At no point were the Constitutional rights of any American violated.

If you’re not a terrorist, a supporter of terrorism or someone who finances terrorist acts, you have nothing to fear from the Patriot Act. I can see why someone like Professor "Mental" Ward Churchill would oppose the Patriot Act. He cheered when 3,000 Americans were murdered on Sept. 11. But how do you explain Ted Kennedy, John Forbes Kerry and Barbara Boxer? Can they embarrass the Democratic Party any more than they have already?

The USA Patriot Act is a straightforward, commonsense piece of legislation. It gives our government the authority it needs to monitor and prosecute suspected terrorists and their collaborators. Nothing more.

We have a law on the books that works. Do we give in to the Democrats and their "global test" for defending the United States against terrorism? Are you willing to jeopardize the lives of your family members by allowing the ACLU and its big-money Democratic supporters to gut the Patriot Act?

President Bush made the following argument for renewing the Patriot Act at the swearing-in ceremony for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in February:

"We must not allow the passage of time or the illusion of safety to weaken our resolve in this new war. To protect the American people, Congress must promptly renew all provisions of the Patriot Act this year."

Write to your senators and representative and urge them to support renewal of all 15 provisions of the Patriot Act that expire this year.

E-mail Tony Phyrillas at

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