RealNews

GOP Bill Would Add Anti-Terror Powers

As Attorney General John D. Ashcroft begins a barnstorming tour of the country to shore up support for existing anti-terrorism laws, Senate Republicans are discussing legislation that would expand the Justice Department’s powers to investigate terrorists and drug criminals. Recent drafts of the Victory Act, which carry the names of Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) and four other Senate Republicans, would provide extra penalties for drug dealers alleged to be connected to terrorist groups and would dramatically expand the government’s power to seize records and conduct wiretaps in connection with “narcoterrorism” investigations. The proposal, which totals 56 pages in one July 30 version, also targets alleged “interstate currency couriers” by making it a crime to carry more than $10,000 cash in a vehicle in connection with illegal activity. Prosecutors also would be able to freeze the assets of defendants arrested on money-laundering charges for 30 days, regardless of whether the assets are connected to a crime, according to the draft legislation. Full Story

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