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Extension of Patriot Act a Sad Day for Civil Liberties, Writes Prof. Ted Rueter

July 29, 2005

ted-rueter.jpgJuly 29, 2005, Greencastle, Ind. - "The Patriot Act is a dangerous piece of legislation, bordering on hysteria," writes Ted Rueter, assistant professor of political science, in today's edition of Indiana's Bloomington Herald-Times. "In my view, its provisions clearly violate the 4th amendment's protection against search and seizure and the 5th amendment's protection against self-incrimination. The Patriot Act brings the United States closer to being a police state."

Dr. Rueter writes in the wake of the House of Representatives' vote to extend most of the Patriot Act's provisions; a Senate vote is forthcoming. "The Act expands the government's power to conduct secret searches, demand library records, and eavesdrop," he writes. "Extension of the Patriot Act is a sad day for civil liberties. The Patriot Act gives the government the power to access your tax records, credit records, library records, bookstore records, and medical records without probable cause. It also gives the government the power to break into your house and conduct secret searches without your knowledge -- all in the name of 'protecting national security.'" 

The professor asserts, "Many may feel that that Patriot Act's infringement of liberty is a small price to pay in the war against terrorism, and that they have nothing to hide. To those I would cite the letter from Pastor Martin Niemoller, a survivor of the Nazi death camps: 'In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a us-flag.gifProtestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.'"

Read the complete column at College

Learn about Ted Rueter's other recent opinion columns here, here, here, here, and here.

Source: Bloomington (Ind.) Herald-Times