Let’s talk politics for a minute. Right now, there are two versions of the anti-terrorism bill making their way through congress. If you’re keeping score at home, the one in the Senate is nasty, the one created by the House Judiciary Committee less so. I have no doubt that these bills will make it easier to catch terrorists, however, when assessing new laws the question must that must always be asked is: “What is the worst way in which this law can be misused?” In this case, the potential for abuse is extreme. Think about a law like this in the hands of a J. Edgar Hoover or Joseph McCarthy — just because the law is being passed with good intentions does not mean that it will always be applied with those same intentions. Here are some resources:

  • ACLU statement on the Senate bill.
  • ACLU chart comparing the House and Senate bills to the current statutes.
  • Declan McCullagh reports that Russ Feingold is leading the fight for toning down the Senate version of the bill. (Patrick Leahy seems to have caved in, and is a co-sponsor of the bill.)
  • CDT recommends calling your Senator and asking them to support the Feingold amendments.
  • The text and status of the bill.