The Corner

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Patriot Act and Thought Crimes


I haven’t been keeping up with the proposed follow-up legislation to the Patriot Act, but civil libertarian Nat Hentoff has, and he’s deeply worried. When I read his column on it, I thought, “If Nat’s right, it’s going to be simply a matter of time before this thing is turned on pro-lifers and other activists who manage to get labeled ‘terrorist’ by an unsympathetic government.” What do you know, the National Organization for Women, having failed to get pro-life free speech adjudged as a RICO crime, is now working to do just that, to keep women safe from these “ideological terrorists.”

Now, I don’t worry about this happening under Bush. But I well remember the VAAPCON scandal from the Clinton years, in which the Reno Justice Department kept a secret database on pro-life activists, hoping to prove a “domestic terrorism” conspiracy. Tell me readers who follow these things: are my worries misplaced?