Sunday, September 07, 2003

Ted Koppel on the Patriot Act

My friend Lisa Rein spotted a great segment on ABC Nightline where Ted Koppel interviewed folks from the ACLU and the Justice Department, among others -- and was able to paint a frighteningly accurate picture of the Patriot Act and its new bastard brother, the Victory Act. To quote Ted:

The men who drafted our constitution, who framed our civil rights and protected our various freedoms under the law would, I suspect, retch at some of the bone headed, self-serving, misinterpretations of their intentions that they so often use these days to undermine the very freedoms they pretend to safeguard. The miracle of American Law is not that it protects popular speech, or the privacy of the powerful, or the homes of the priviledged, but rather, that the least among us, those with the fewest defenses thoses suspected of the worst crimes -- the most despised in our midst, are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

That remains as revolutionary a concept now as it was in the 1780s. It makes protecting the country against terrorism excruciatingly difficult, but we cannot arbitrarily suspend the rights of one category of suspects without endangering all the others.

At Lisa's site, you read more about this segment, and view a low-res copy of the TV show. It's highly recommended.

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E.P. Sunday, September 07, 2003