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Ashcroft calls for tougher Patriot Act

Tampa Bay News 10 | June 29 2004

Tampa, Florida - Attorney General John Ashcroft made his second trip to the Port of Tampa this year to meet with members of the Bay Area Anti-Terrorism Advisory Group, made up of local law-enforcement leaders.

For the last two years, Ashcroft has faced criticism from Democrats and civil libertarians who claim the “Patriot Act” infringes on people’s rights by detaining people without due process.

But if the Attorney General is stung by the criticism, it doesn’t show.

Ashcroft pointed out that the Patriot Act has several elements, some are not controversial.
But his plans to tighten it may be.

Among other provisions, Ashcroft is asking Congress to allow judges to impose the death penalty for those convicted of terrorist activities that do not now have death penalty specifications.

JOHN ASHCROFT, U.S. Attorney General:
“For those terrorists, who seek to save their own life, while they are destroying the lives of others, I believe acting in terror to take an innocent life, should be punishable by the death penalty.”

Ashcroft also claims prosecutors and cops should be allowed more sweeping investigative powers on terrorists that are now used to get information from organized crime figures and drug dealers.

Democrats responded to Ashcroft’s visit and proposals by claiming the Bush administration’s tough talk is not backed up by the proper funding in the war on terrorism.