This is troubling:
A closed-door vote by the Senate Intelligence Committee to expand law enforcement powers under the USA Patriot Act is prompting sharp criticism from some conservative leaders who are otherwise among the most vocal allies of President Bush and the Republican leadership.
The conservative leaders, who have formed a coalition with critics on the left, including the American Civil Liberties Union, vowed to press their concerns in public statements, rallies and advertising.
While the conservatives have been long-standing critics of the anti-terror law, they lashed out with particular force last week at the White House, members of Congress and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, saying that they expected a more open review of the Patriot Act in which lawmakers would consider limits on some provisions in order to safeguard civil rights.
Instead, they complained, the Senate panel had moved in secret to expand the act. They are particularly upset about the proposed addition to the law authorizing “administrative subpoenas,” under which the FBI would be able to obtain a person’s medical, financial and other records in terrorism cases without seeking a judge’s approval.
This doesn’t seem like an outrageous demand:
Still, civil libertarians panned the bill and the closed-door meetings in which it was written.
“When lawmakers seek to rewrite our Fourth Amendment rights, they should at least have the gumption to do so in public,” said Lisa Graves, the ACLU’s senior counsel for legislative strategy. “Americans have a reasonable expectation that their federal government will not gather records about their health, their wealth and the transactions of their daily life without probable cause of a crime and without a court order.”
I know, I know. I am just being hysterical and Sullivanesque. I am sure someone can explain to me why I am a bad Republican, soft on terror, and turning to the dark side to please my new Democratic friends for not liking the Senate holding secret meetings to expand the Patriot Act.