Friday, January 25, 2008
Patriot Act Upheld
I've been one of those critical of the Patriot Act. I fear, on principle, giving up civil liberties in the name of stopping those who would take them away.
But now the Patriot Act has been upheld by a federal judge. In a case that exemplifies the reasoning behind the act.
Hassan Abu-Jihaad (he was born Paul R Hall but later converted to Islam). a 31-year-old former U.S. Navy sailor is charged with providing material support to terrorist organizations in London by allegedly leaking to them classified information about the location and vulnerabilities of a U.S. Navy group. He is scheduled to go on trial in one month.
His attorneys argued that the portions of the Patriot Act which authorized the interception of his phone and e-mail conversations should be struck. The judge has now rejected the motion. Abu-Jihaad's attorneys could, however, appeal.
Abu-Jihaad (interesting surname for someone charged with such a crime isn't it?) should consider himself lucky. If he's found to be guilty, he can thank his lucky stars he wasn't tried for treason. Frankly, anyone American, member of the military or not, who turns this kind of strategic information over to our enemies deserves to swing from the branch of a high oak tree. And I'm not a proponent of capital punishment!
I'll be following this case closely. In the meantime, I'll leave it to the civil libertarians and the constitutionalists to argue whether the judge, or Abu-Jihaad's attorneys, were right about the Patriot Act.