Updated July 3, 2004








Ashcroft Calls For Tougher Patriot Act

Ashcroft Calls For Tougher Patriot Act


By Christopher J. Petherick


At a meeting of law enforcement officials in Tampa Bay, Fla., Attorney General John Ashcroft (above) made it clear that he plans to expand the controversial Patriot Act to grant police more freedom to stop and search Americans to help fight the war on terror.

Citing the war on drugs, Ashcroft told police chiefs and other top officials that local law enforcement should be able to employ the same tools for battling terrorism as it does in fighting drugs and combating organized crime.

Ashcroft said he is seeking from Congress the authority to allow judges to impose the death penalty for those convicted of terrorist activities that do not now have death penalty specifications.

Some civil libertarians groups object to Ashcroft’s call to expand the contested Patriot Act.

“This legislation will almost certainly have no deterrent effect on suicidal, politically motivated terrorists such as members of Al Qaeda,” said the American Civil Liberties Union in a written statement.

In addition, free trade protesters, members of environmental groups, anti-abortion demonstrators and other people attending some types of patriotic rallies could risk being sentenced to death for acts of civil disobedience that the government labels as terrorist in nature.

Democratic lawmakers have criticized Ashcroft, saying the Patriot Act goes too far and infringes on Americans’ constitutional rights.


© American Free Press 2004