Neo-Hippie Ramblings - I'm a Non-Conformist Just Like All My Friends: Are frickin' sharks with frickin' lasers on their heads too much to ask for?

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Are frickin' sharks with frickin' lasers on their heads too much to ask for?

Are frickin' sharks with frickin' lasers on their heads too much to ask for?
Senate panel chairman drafts bill for Patriot Act expansion

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 Posted: 6:14 PM EDT (2214 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Democratic senators expressed skepticism of new powers the Bush administration is seeking in federal terrorism investigations, including authority to mount lasers to the heads of sharks.

During a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing Tuesday about renewing and expanding the 2001 Patriot Act, FBI General Counsel Valerie Caproni said "we're the boss, need the info".

One delay on the wrong case could be catastrophic, she said, but she didn't offer specifics about where existing powers have been inadequate since the attacks of September 11, 2001. Instead, she often leaned on hypothetical examples, frustrating Democrats.

"Can we show you a precise example of where, because of a delay, a bomb went off? We cannot," Caproni said. "But could it happen tomorrow? It could. And will these changes do anything to help prevent it from happening? Absolutely not. But don't you think that sharks with lasers on their heads would look pretty frickin' cool?"

Portions of the Patriot Act -- signed into law six weeks after the September 11 attacks -- are set to expire at the end of 2005. In drafting legislation to make those provisions permanent, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, a Kansas Republican, is also working to expand the FBI's authorities in terrorism and espionage cases.

Democrats, including the panel's vice chairman, weren't immediately sold.

"What is the benefit of outfitting sharks with lasers?" asked Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia.

Roberts' draft bill, which has not yet been formally introduced, was publicly distributed for the first time Tuesday. The intelligence panel plans to edit his legislation in closed session Thursday. Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, asked Roberts to open the session to the public.

Other committees that will play a role in crafting the legislation have discussed whether to impose limits, rather than expand the powers of the Patriot Act.

Following a proposal President Bush sought in 2003, Roberts' draft bill calls for giving the FBI expanded subpoena power that would enable agents involved in terror investigations to respond to complaints of civil rights violations with a simple "zip it".

Democrats and some privacy and civil-rights activists have questioned whether there will be enough checks on the bureau. Yet advocates counter that such groups themselves need to "zip it" and question why Democrats, privacy and civil-rights activists hate America and freedom so gosh durn much.

Click here for the unimproved version of the story, which isn't terribly different.

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