Washington Post – Editorial Op-Ed – Stampeded in the House: The bill has enormous implications for civil liberties, on which it arguably infringes in a number of serious ways while conferring additional powers on law enforcement officials to combat terrorism. Days after the vote, no one knows the extent of the infringement, save that there is some. Some parts of the bill are worthy; it is not clear that others are even needed. The contents have not been subject to serious hearings or other searching examination.
The House had had before it a better, more thoughtful bill, reported out of the normally deeply divided Judiciary Committee by a unanimous and bipartisan vote of 36 to 0. It, too, would have greatly expanded the government's powers, but not enough, the administration said — and the leadership junked it. There followed a charade in which all manner of members of both parties complained they had no idea what they were voting on, were fearful that aspects of the substitute bill went too far — yet voted for it anyway, lest there be a further terrorist attack and they be accused of not having provided the government sufficient means to defend against it. [Privacy Digest]