Tonight, on Friday, February 7 at 9 P.M. on PBS (check local listings at http://www.pbs.org/now/sched.html), NOW with Bill Moyers will provide details of a Justice Department draft of a bill designed to extend the powers of the Patriot Act. The draft bill was provided exclusively to NOW by the Center for Public Integrity, [www.publicintegrity.org], which obtained it from a confidential government source. The document, entitled the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003, outlines significant broadening of law enforcement powers, including domestic intelligence gathering, surveillance, and law enforcement prerogatives, while decreasing public access to information and judicial review authority.
Dr. David Cole, Georgetown University Law professor and author of Terrorism and the Constitution assessed the document for NOW with Bill Moyers and the Center for Public Integrity. "I think this is a quite radical proposal. It authorizes secret arrests. It would give the Attorney General essentially unchecked authority to deport anyone who he thought was a danger to our economic interests. It would strip citizenship from people for lawful political associations," he told NOW's Roberta Baskin. "And...it has not been put on the table so there can be a discussion about it."
NOW interviewed executive director of the Center for Public Integrity, Charles Lewis, in New York on Thursday. When asked to gauge the significance of the document Lewis responded: "It just deepens and broadens, further extends the first Patriot Act," he says. "And it's arguably...a more thorough rendering of all the things law enforcement and intelligence agencies would like to have in a perfect world. I think it's a very tough document when it comes to secrecy and surveillance."
Share your views on the issues and read more about the secret document at http://www.pbs.org/now/politics/lewis.html.