View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Patriot Act 

As this week's arrests show, we're still at war, and the bad guys are infiltrating into the country, and using a fifth column here as cover.

We may indeed need the Patriot Act to be renewed. We want to make the opposition's resistance to our safety a campaign issue. Not just because we want to win, but because we want to be safe.

It won't be enough to review the arrests and argue for renewal. I'm afraid that Justice and the White House are going to have to show exactly how the Patriot Act has contributed to our safety, i.e., show how specific provisions have led to specific arrests. They are going to have to do this without endangering pending prosecutions. But they are going to have to do it.

It's probably not a bad thing in principle: to make the government show that it needs additional power. These provisions are so common-sense, mostly just extensions of existing powers applicable to organized crime, that I don't believe they should have any trouble at all showing their utility. The Patriot Act has, sadly, become synonmous with Police State. It's ridiculous, of course, but connecting lives saved with specific provisions would go a long way toward taking the air out of the windbags on the other side.

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