“Bring the whole act back into the Congress”

January 22, 2004

2004 Democratic Primary Debate at St. Anselm College,  January 22, 2004

Q: How would your administration revisit the Patriot Act and strike a balance between national security and personal liberties?

CLARK: I’m very concerned about the Patriot Act. It was passed in haste. It’s very long. What we would do is suspend all the portions of the Patriot Act that have to do with search and seizure: sneak-and-peek searches; library records; and so on. If they want a wiretap, they can do it the old-fashioned way, go to a judge with probable cause.

And then, bring the whole act back into the Congress. Lay it out. Ask former Attorney General John Ashcroft to come and testify on his use and abuse of the Patriot Act. What provisions were used, for what, for what good? Why couldn’t it have been done another way? And then we’re going to put together the right kind of authorities for law enforcement to keep us safe. We cannot win the war on terror by giving up the very freedoms we’re fighting to protect.

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