Earlier this week, former CIA chief Stansfield Turner advocated giving the attorney general the power to deport any suspected foreigner without due process. I said I would consider the admiral's remarks and I have, and that's the subject of this evening's Talking Points memo.
There's no question that the federal government has let all of us Americans down by failing to keep dangerous foreigners out of this country. The borders are a joke, and just about anyone can get in here using a visa. They can stay as long as they want. The INS cannot control immigration and everybody knows it.
Because of the terrorism, Attorney General Ashcroft has asked Congress for more power to fight terrorism and incarcerate suspected foreign wrongdoers indefinitely.
Now, on paper, this appeals to many Americans who are frightened about the prospect of more terrorism. But Senators like Arlen Specter and Edward Kennedy are skeptical about giving the Justice Department more power because that department has been incompetent in the past. Hello, Janet Reno.
After the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, Congress did pass broad anti-terrorism legislation giving the Justice Department, among other things, an alien terrorist removal court. Don't worry if you've never heard of it. I didn't know about it either, and I watch the government for a living.
This court is set up to hear secret evidence from the FBI and others about suspected terrorists, and if the judges on the tribunal believe the evidence, any foreign national can be immediately deported. That sounds like a very efficient way to get rid of suspected terrorists, doesn't it?
Well, listen to this. In the five years the court has existed, the Justice Department has not used it once. Not once. It just sits there. The feds say they're afraid to use the court because they might be challenged constitutionally.
So what? If it's there, use it. If the Supreme Court wants to get involved, play it out.
Because the Justice Department has not used the alien terrorist removal court, Talking Points is not willing to give Mr. Ashcroft anymore power. Use the court, Mr. Attorney General.
Ashcroft also wants Congress to expand the legal definition of a terrorist, and that's fine. But getting power is one thing, and using it wisely is quite something else. The Justice Department needs to start making solid cases against terrorists and using the power it has, rather than complaining it doesn't have enough.
And that's the memo.
Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
Actress Shirley MacLaine has a website that says:
"(We should all) produce a bubble of positive energy and bombard the terrorists with white light and love from our higher selves."
Since I don't have a higher self, I'm out of this picture. But for all you white light people out there, straight ahead or else things might get ridiculous.
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