RealNews

Bipartisan Debate on Patriot Act Is Urged

Former deputy attorney general Larry D. Thompson has proposed that a bipartisan commission debate the legal tools that should be employed in combating terrorism. In a speech before a judicial conference in Philadelphia on Monday, Thompson said he believes that provisions of the USA Patriot Act that are scheduled to expire in 2005 should be discussed by constitutional scholars and lawyers “outside the partisan wrangling of Congress and outside the unhelpful influence of interest groups.” Thompson, who resigned from the Justice Department in August, praised the new powers granted by the act and said he believes there should be “a reasoned, dispassionate and informed debate” to maintain public confidence in the legal tools used in fighting terrorism. “We certainly cannot afford to allow the provisions of the Patriot Act . . . sunset without the kind of high-level national discussion I am talking about. Too much is at stake,” he said. He suggested the White House or Congress could create such a commission. Full Story

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