Should the Patriot Act be renewed?
Administration needs to focus on catching 'bad guys'
By Jeffrey Hart
If (the Patriot Act) is renewed it should be amended to protect basic civil rights and civil liberties. I am concerned that in the panic following September 11 the Congress went too far in abridging the rights of both citizens and non-citizens. The most serious breaches were in the principle of the right of those accused of crimes and misdeeds to receive a prompt and fair hearing, and, in the case of citizens, of a fair trial before a jury of their peers. We have also seen overzealousness in the area of collection of information previously protected, such as in the checking out of books at libraries.\nThe slowdown in approval of visas for foreign students has been particularly damaging to US universities and colleges and other research-oriented organizations. My basic beef is that the dragnets created by the Patriot Act do not sufficiently focus on possible terrorists and too often target individuals who are highly unlikely to engage in such activities. I would like to see a better focus on catching bad guys.
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