Monday, December 15, 2003

A new federal report tells us all about the valuable trade we've made, giving up our first, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth amendment rights in exchange for protection from dangerous terrorist criminals.

Of the tens of thousands of people jailed, investigators recommended prosecutions in 6,400 cases. Prosecutors only thought it worth their while to file charges in 2,001 cases. 879 people have been convicted, of which 58% didn't even go to jail.The average sentence? Fourteen days. Only 23 received sentences of five years or more - compared to 24 people sentenced to five or more years for terror-related crimes from 1999-2001.
Mark Corallo, director of public affairs at the Justice Department criticized the methodology of the research, saying that TRAC ignored the value of investigators disrupting planned terrorist attacks before they can unfold by charging suspected terrorists with a lesser crime.
Corallo did not, apparently, go on to explain how a 14-day sentence deters someone from committing a terrorist act once released.

This is hopeful, though: a Republican-led federal terrorism commission says that the government needs to give more weight to civil liberties.
Time, quoting an anonymous source, said the new Homeland Security Department is focused on "the crisis of the moment," yet no one in the administration was examining "the broader issues of economic security and societal stability."

"If they're doing it, they're doing it in such a superficial or under-the-radar fashion that it did not become apparent to the panel," the source told Time.
Many Republicans are potentially our allies on this one, if we can find a way to make common cause with them.