Congress Worries About Civil Liberties 

Congress Worries About Civil Liberties 
Posted by CN Staff on June 21, 2002 at 16:02:29 PT
By John Heilprin, Associated Press Writer
Source: Associated Press
Lawmakers cautioned FBI Director Robert Mueller on Friday against waging a war on terrorism that is so aggressive it weakens the rights of Americans. The comments came as Mueller described to a House subcommittee the steps the FBI is taking to reorganize itself to better fight terrorism since the Sept. 11 attacks. The FBI's focus on counterterrorism is drawing hundreds of field agents from drug and other criminal investigations, and Mueller cited a system of training and inspectors aimed at preventing abuses. 
"Agents understand the consequences of going beyond the Constitution," Mueller told the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the Justice Department and FBI. Meantime, Teamsters President James P. Hoffa and a handful of other labor leaders back the push for a new department, setting aside for now concerns raised by public employees' unions. After meeting with domestic security chief Tom Ridge at the White House, the leaders said they supported the broad outlines of Bush's plans and would monitor how the concerns of public employees are handled. And Hoffa promised that truckers will be on the front lines of domestic defense. "We can be the eyes and ears out there, especially on CB (radios)," Hoffa told reporters. "It's amazing what kind of information they can come up with." Hoffa said it's too early to determine with unionized workers would be hurt by the plan. "We'll just wait and see what happens," he told reporters. Frank Hanley of the International Union of Operating Engineers said his union had given Bush's plan its unqualified support. While some members of Congress generally praised Mueller and his agency for their response to the attacks, they worried that constitutional protections might be compromised in the drive to prevent a new wave of terrorist acts. "In our quest to create a better, faster, more agile FBI, we have to be careful not to trample on the rights granted to every American under the Constitution," said Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., chairman of the subcommittee. "I'm concerned that in the rush to catch the bad guys, we will hurt the good guys," echoed Rep. Jose Serrano of New York, the panel's top Democrat. Immediately after Sept. 11, the FBI assigned more than 6,000 agents to counterterrorism -- six times the number before the attacks. "That has leveled off to 2,000 now," Mueller said. Mueller sought to reassure that the FBI and CIA will work together effectively on intelligence issues -- a subject that has previously fallen on skeptical ears in Congress. Without unfettered access to raw intelligence data -- tape recordings, communications intercepts, surveillance photos -- many lawmakers have been saying that the new agency will not have all the data it needs to improve analysis and prevent future terrorist attacks. "How is this agency to know what it doesn't know?" Sen. Mark Dayton, D-Minn., asked at a hearing Thursday of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee. "You're adding another player to this equation." President Bush's domestic security chief, Tom Ridge, told that panel Thursday, and a later hearing of the House Government Reform Committee, that the new department will "connect the dots" better than the current system even if it mainly gets scrubbed reports, assessments and analyses from the agencies. Ridge said Bush wants the CIA to remain accountable directly to the president and for the FBI to stay within the Justice Department instead of moving into the new department, as some lawmakers suggest. The new department, he said, will bring a fresh perspective and analysis combined with an assessment of U.S. risks and the ability to take quick action to protect against attacks. "This would be the only venue where all the information gathered by all the intelligence agencies of the United States could be reviewed," Ridge told the Senate panel. "That integration has never occurred anywhere in the federal government before." Some Republican lawmakers defended the administration. Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., said it was important to have a "firewall" between the massive amounts of intelligence data collected and the analysts at a new department to forestall "the possibility that the new agency would be inundated with truckloads of intelligence data." But others were not so sure the intelligence agencies will play along. "What makes anyone think they will communicate with a new, untested agency?" asked Rep. John Tierney, D-Mass. The eight hours of hearings were the first since Bush released detailed plans for the new department Tuesday. It would combine 100 scattered federal entities with 170,000 employees and total annual budgets of at least $37 billion. It also marked Ridge's first formal public testimony on Capitol Hill. He previously resisted such appearances on grounds that he is a confidential adviser to the president. Complete Title: Congress Worries About Civil Liberties Protections with New FBI Reorganization Source: Associated PressAuthor: John Heilprin, Associated Press WriterPublished: Friday, June 21, 2002 Copyright: 2002 Associated Press Related Articles:War on Drugs No Longer Feds' Highest Priority Changes Prompt Fear in Drug War FBI Archives
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Comment #2 posted by qqqq on June 22, 2002 at 20:10:26 PT
..Now,,wasnt that wonderful?...
..and as to this article...Isnt it also wonderful to hear that congress has;"worries about civil liberties"......What a FREAKIN F#%*ing JOKE!....None of these congressional worriers was too concerned when they rubber-stamped the usa/patriot act,,without even fucking reading it!..
..This article is little more than pure propaganda,from a reliable source of propaganda,,the AP!.....It's the old "pretend to be concerned" trick,,where people are lead to believe that there is actually a significant debate occuring within the halls of the empire....The reality is,,that the war on terror agenda,is now unchallenged,,and pretty much unstoppable!...It's past the time to be alarmed!.....
...Like the village idiot,,I will proudly bang the gong,,and tell anyone who wants to hear,,that the MEDIA,,the absence of a NATIONAL FREE PRESS,,,is the genisis of this empires grasp on this country!!!!!!!!
....dont blame me when the empire finally comes to your door,,,I tried to warn ya,,..If you cant see what is going on,,then I want to tell you this;;;"....have a nice pretty day....other people will surely get involved,so you can just wait for them to change things." can say what I use as my main procrastination/justification for not trying to change things,,,,;;"...aww.....things are so fucked,,I could never make a difference by getting involved,and actually protesting...besides,,if I spoke out too loudly,,I could easily end up in the custody of some new lockup of the usa/patriot empire..."
......if you are thinking that things are getting "better",,,then I think you should think about things as they already are!...."better{" ,,is a poor excuse for "less worse"......
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Comment #1 posted by dddd on June 22, 2002 at 19:40:54 PT
..for your enjoyment...todays radio address
WASHINGTON, June 22 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Following is the
text of President Bush's radio address to the nation today:The Cabinet RoomTHE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Earlier today, the First Lady and
I joined the White House staff for the inaugural President's
Fitness Challenge Run and Walk. Every participant took important
steps on the road to better health, and runners and walkers
volunteered to perform community service or to contribute to
charities.The Fitness Challenge is part of a larger initiative I launched
this week to help Americans live longer, better, and healthier
lives. And the good news is this: when it comes to your health,
even little steps can make a big difference. If just 10 percent of
adults began walking regularly, Americans could save $5.6 billion
in costs related to heart disease. And research suggests that we
can reduce cancer deaths by one-third simply by changing our diets
and getting more exercise.The title of our new health and fitness initiative says it all:
Healthier US. It is based on four guideposts to good health. First,
be physically active every day. Second, develop good eating habits.Third, take advantage of preventative screenings. Fourth, don't
smoke, don't do drugs, and don't drink excessively. These four
simple measures will help all Americans get healthier and stronger.First, be physically active every day. A report released this
week by the Department of Health and Human Services confirms that
almost 40 percent of adults get no leisure time physical activity.
This lack of activity can lead to poor health and higher health
care costs. Americans who are obese spend approximately 36 percent
more on health care services than the general population. They
spend 77 percent more on medications.Here are some simple suggestions to help Americans get active.
Walking 30 minutes a day can improve your health. Playing a game in
the backyard will help parents and children get fit and spend some
quality time with each other. And regularly hiking through a park
can add years to your life. This weekend, the federal government is
waiving all entrance fees to national parks and other federal
lands, so you can exercise while exploring America's natural
beauty. Exercise is a daily part of my life, and I urge all
Americans to make it an important part of your lives.Second, eat a nutritious diet. That means eating fruits and
vegetables and cutting back on fatty foods. If you try your best to
achieve these goals, you will be on the road to healthier living,
and you'll have a lot more energy for your 30-minute walk.Third, get preventative screenings, simple tests that can tell you
if you're prone to developing certain diseases such as diabetes and
cancer and heart disease. By acting on that information, you can
help prevent a potentially life-threatening illness.Fourth, cut out tobacco, drugs, and excessive drinking. Tobacco
use is the single most preventable cause of death and disease in
America. Drug and alcohol abuse destroys lives and families
and communities. Avoiding tobacco, drugs, and excessive alcohol can
save your life.This initiative is part of my administration's ongoing
commitment to raising awareness about the benefits of exercise and
healthy choices. Our message is simple, but important. The doctors
in America should talk to your patients about the value
of exercise and healthy eating. Parents should make sure your
children get plenty of exercise and good nutrition, and make smart
decisions. By making minor changes to our lives, we will build a
healthier and stronger America.Thank you for listening.
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