...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...

December 21, 2005

Why Exactly The Filibuster?

Mike Chertoff today:

I spent a lot of years as a line prosecutor at the Department of Justice, and as the head of the Criminal Division in this building. Many of the tools which we are talking about using in the patriot act against terrorists are tools that have been used for years in the decades against drug dealers, or people involved in white collar crime. And they've been used effectively and they've been used without there being a significant impact on civil liberties.

The question I ask myself when I hear people criticize roving wiretaps, for example, is, why is this something that we use successfully and prudently in the area of dealing with marijuana importers, but yet a tool that people want to deny us in the war against people who want to import chemical weapons or explosives. That makes no sense to me.

Why is it, for example, that delayed notification search warrants, which again, we use in all kinds of garden variety criminal cases, with the supervision of a judge, why should that tool be denied to our investigators when they're seeking to go into a house with a search warrant to see if there are explosives there, or other kinds of weapons that can be used against Americans.

[It's] Common sense [that] the tools that have been used without any significant impact on civil liberties in a wide variety of cases over the last 10 or 20 years, ought to continue to be available here against perhaps the greatest threat we face in this country, which is the threat of terror.

Well put.

Posted by annika, Dec. 21, 2005 | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: annikapunditry


Every person in Congress should be required to repeat these three sentences every day:

One terrorist getting through with a nuclear bomb will kill a million people in NYC.

One terrorist getting through and poisoning the water supply will kill 200,000 people in Chicago.

One terrorist getting through with a dirty bomb will kill 100,000 people in Washington DC.

Posted by: Jake on Dec. 21, 2005

Nice ploy there, considering how little the average citizen realizes the extent to which civil liberties have been trashed by the last 20 years of the drug war.

Posted by: Desert Cat on Dec. 21, 2005

Well, Cat, you have a point with the "War on Drugs"
that certainly hasn't helped imprve our society in any way. At least we are not headed down the path of a police state as quickly as Great Britain. Read about it in my latest post.


They are heading to dangerous territory.

Posted by: Kyle N on Dec. 22, 2005

Desert Cat,

The only people's who civil liberties have been "trashed" are those who deal and use drugs. So, you are right the "average citizen" doesn't care....but I know all you dope smokers care a lot.

Ironically, I am no fan of the War on Drugs. However, my problem with it is philosophical and has little to do with the execution. The fact is that drug's destroy the lives of millions and also impacts the lives of those close to the user/abuser. However, the libertarian part of me has a difficult time swallowing why one guy can legally drink himself to death with alcohol and but cannot smoke marijuana as a form of relaxation.

p.s. I guess I do have one problem with the execution: I think it is BS that the cops can take private property without being able to explicity link its purchase to money obtained from illegal drug activities. That is just plain fucked up.

Posted by: Blu on Dec. 22, 2005

The only people's who civil liberties have been "trashed" are those who deal and use drugs....but I know all you dope smokers care a lot.

Blu, wouldn't it be nice if it were so? (After all, them damn hippies don't have civil rights anyway, right?) But it is not true. You mentioned asset forfeiture. That's a biggie! There have been numerous cases of people subjected to asset forfeiture that were only suspected, sometimes on little or no evidence, of being involved somehow in the drug trade. Asset forfeiture itself is an egregious violation of due process guarantees. Furthermore it has a demostrably corrosive effect on law enforcement, as they are the beneficiaries in most cases of the seized assets.

And how many times has a no-knock warrant been served at the wrong house with a SWAT team, sometimes on the elderly, and sometimes with fatal results? Far more than you may suspect.

Financial privacy is all but gone. Try moving more than $10k around sometime and see what reporting requirements you're subject to. Try moving dollar amounts slightly smaller than that amount several times, and see how quickly you find yourself in deep doo-doo.

Have you tried buying cold medicine lately? Have you tried getting effective treatment for chronic pain lately? Right-o! No problems there.

What about law enforcement itself? I read recently about a case where a man and his daughter moved into a duplex unit that happened to be owned by a drug dealer who lived next door. The police executed one of their infamous no-knock warrants on both units, and the first officer through the door was shot dead by the man who thought he was protecting his daughter from a home invasion attempt.

He is on trial for murder now. Nice, huh? But the officer is dead because of this unconstitutional practice.

Want me to go on? I could find a whole lot more like this.

And it is interesting how knee-jerk the common assumption is that anyone concerned about what the war on drugs is doing to this country must be a doper. So you have a philosophical opposition to the war on drugs, but don't mind how it is being carried out (does that even make sense?), but someone who has become more informed and *is* concerned about its execution must have a vested interest somehow? As a matter of fact, the first and last time I toked was some nineteen years ago now.

Posted by: Desert Cat on Dec. 22, 2005

"Go ahead and take my civil rights; I wasn't using them anyway."

(I read this somewhere so cannot claim originality)

Posted by: shelly on Dec. 22, 2005

"Try moving more than $10k around sometime and see what reporting requirements you're subject to."

Oh, to have that problem! I don't think that I'll have to "move" $10K anytime soon, but I get your point.

I heard about the case of the man on trial for murder. That is so fucked up! When things like that happen and innocent people are caught up in it, one can't help but feel like Big Brother is breathing down our collective necks. (This is the case whether one is talking about the War on Drugs or anything else.)

And the cold medicine fiasco is a joke that is pure politics and, unfortunately, embraced by politicians of both the Left and Right.

So, you obviously bring up some very good points. I will admit to misjudging you. When I hear people complaining about the "War on Drugs," they are often "long hair, dope-smoking, FM listeners." Vigilance over private property is always a commendable act. And your concerns appear genuine.

But since I do not have a vested interest, I don't spend a lot of time worried about its execution. My preference is for legalization so execution wouldn't even be an issue.

Posted by: Blu on Dec. 23, 2005

"We must protect our American Citizens" has been the line used since the turn of the century and maybe longer in order for this government to create situations where our civil liberties are compromised.
We are too short sighted, self involved, and seperatist as Americans to effectively do anything about it. Proven by people like Blu, who seem to believe the only time you should stand up against something is when it directly relates to your person. Should I only fight for Blacks, women, and Jews, since that is my race, gender, and religion? Every right compromised or revoked in this "democratic" country needs to be fought against by every person who deems themself an American citizen. We need to stop being blinded by the fear this government tries to instill in us, or police states will not be as far off as we seem to think.

Posted by: Kimby on Dec. 28, 2005

What's hilarious is the deep, stunning lack of historical knowledge by people who are clueless about what things used to be like and the power the Federal Government had and exercised during war in the past. Look up even as recently as World War One and the banning of German songs and teaching the language in schools. Learn a bit about the past and what we're facing before posting anything ever again about civil rights. You look astonishingly childish and ignorant about the topic.

Seriously, I'm trying to save you embarassment.

Posted by: Christopher Taylor on Dec. 31, 2005