Per Skip's request.

Has Post-9/11 Dragnet Gone too Far?
As White House Pushes to Expand Domestic Terror Laws,
Critics Worry Limits on Civil Liberties Will Become Permanent.
By Warren Richey and Linda Feldmann
Christian Science Monitor
September 12, 2003

When they came for Adham Hassoun, America's counterterrorism forces took no
chances. Federal agents and sheriff's deputies circled his car in a quiet
residential area not far from his home in Sunrise, Fla., and whisked him
into custody. "It was like a movie, with helicopters above me," Mr. Hassoun
recalls in a telephone interview from Miami's Krome Detention Center. "They
thought I was somebody important.... They thought they hit the jackpot."

Now, 15 months later, Hassoun has yet to be charged with a violation of any
US law. Nonetheless, he remains behind bars - and fears he is about to lose
everything he has ever loved and worked for during 13 years in America.

Hassoun's experience is not unlike that of other immigrants of Middle
Eastern or Islamic heritage swept up in a post-Sept. 11 dragnet aimed at
disabling terrorists before they strike again. It is a nationwide antiterror
campaign with tactics including preventive detention, coercive
interrogation, and secret deportation hearings, targeting a community of
noncitizens in America now living in silent dread of a knock at the door.

"By my count, based on government-released figures, they've detained over
5,000 foreign nationals in antiterrorism-related initiatives," says David
Cole, a Georgetown University law professor and author of the forthcoming
book "Enemy Aliens." "The government has treated thousands of people as
suspected terrorists who turned out to have nothing to do with terrorism."

Permanent shifts in the landscape?

The vast majority of Americans have never experienced such tough tactics
firsthand. That may explain why there has been relatively little outcry,
analysts say. Yet increasingly, some members of Congress - and a vocal
minority of the public - are questioning the full range of Bush
administration strategies in the war on terror. On Wednesday, President Bush
proposed new measures giving federal law enforcement even more power to go
after suspected terrorists.

The stakes, say the White House and supporters, are too high to risk another
attack. In an era of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons of mass
destruction, they say, it is too costly to permit even a single Al Qaeda
operative to strike again. Douglas Kmiec, a law professor at Pepperdine
University in Malibu, Calif., who supports the administration's approach,
says that one can't draw a firm correlation between steps the US has taken
and the lack of a second attack. But, he continues, "one thing we can say is
if we failed to take meaningful steps and were attacked again, the
recriminations for failure to engage in serious law-enforcement and
counterintelligence activities would be even greater."

The US has faced severe threats to its national security throughout history,
with leaders wielding extraordinary powers to counter those threats -
sometimes at great cost to civil liberties. But always when the threats
subsided, earlier levels of legal protections were restored. Two years after
the terror attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, civil-liberties
advocates warn that, given the open-ended nature of the war on terror, the
current counterterrorism provisions could become a permanent feature of the
legal landscape. Their list includes:

The indefinite imprisonment without charge of three "enemy combatants" -
Jose Padilla, Yasser Hamdi, and Ali Saleh al-Marri.

The planned use of military commissions - with relaxed evidentiary rules and
diminished defendant rights - to try terror suspects. It would be the first
time since World War II that military tribunals, not federal courts, are
used in the US for such cases.

The holding in indefinite detention of material witnesses as a means of
coercing testimony or confessions from anyone who might possess intelligence
information federal agents deem useful.

The detention and interrogation of 660 Al Qaeda and Taliban suspects as war
criminals facing possible death sentences at a new US terrorism prison camp
at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The open-ended detention of thousands of Muslim noncitizens as suspected
terrorists or terrorist sympathizers as a means of extracting information
from them or preventing future terrorism by keeping them locked up.
"In the days and weeks after the September 11 attacks, understandably the
country was in a traumatized state and there was a lot of overreaction,"
says Michael Posner, executive director of the Lawyers Committee for Human
Rights. "We are now at the point, two years out, where there needs to be a
recalibration of some of those measures to restore the balance between
liberty and security."

Bush administration officials and supporters disagree. They defend the new
provisions as having played an important part in disrupting Al Qaeda and
other terror-group operations: America is still at war against a ruthless
enemy that measures victory by the number of innocent lives destroyed. Most
Americans appear comfortable with this strategy. Sixty-two percent of
respondents in a recent Christian Science Monitor/TIPP poll said President
Bush was doing an "excellent" or "good" job in fighting terrorism, while
only 18 percent characterized the president's antiterror efforts as "poor"
or "unacceptable."

But there are signs of growing opposition. In July, Congress voted 309-118
to eliminate funding for a key portion of the USA Patriot Act, the post-9/11
law that expanded the government's ability to monitor and investigate anyone
in the US. At the grass-roots level, 157 communities and three states have
passed resolutions opposing the Patriot Act.

And alarm is growing over government proposals to use technology and
electronic eavesdropping to compile detailed profiles not only of suspected
terrorists, but potentially of every American adult. Although the Pentagon's
Terrorism Information Awareness program is in question, there are efforts to
use similar technology to screen all airline passengers.

"Government acquisition of lots of information about citizens for use in
making security-risk determinations is moving forward," says David Sobel,
general counsel of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. But he expects
a backlash. Mr. Sobel says that sometimes the best solution to threats is to
go low-tech. With planes, for instance, "there's nothing that will beat
secure cockpit doors and more air marshals. There's no privacy downside and
no civil-liberties downside."

But how do you protect a nation without affecting civil liberties and
privacy? How do you gauge whether the tough tactics were necessary and
effective? Administration officials cite a mountain of statistics to justify
their policies. Six alleged terrorist cells have been broken up in Buffalo,
Detroit, Seattle, Portland, Tampa, and North Carolina; 260 individuals have
been charged; and 515 "linked" to the 9/11 investigation have been deported.

What the government doesn't reveal is that the vast majority of the 260
charged and 515 deported were involved in relatively minor crimes or
immigration infractions and had nothing to do with Al Qaeda or terrorism.
Indeed, many of the highest-profile terror suspects - including Zacarias
Moussaoui, Richard Reid, and John Walker Lindh - were caught without any
reliance on the new hard-nosed tactics.

Preemptive detention's fallout

But what about those Muslim noncitizens who were detained, interrogated, and
later released? Mr. Cole, of the Georgetown Law Center, estimates that of
the 5,000 foreign nationals that he's counted as detained in the post-9/11
sweeps, only four were charged with any crime related to terrorism. And two
of those four, he says, were acquitted.

"Thousands were detained in this blind search for terrorists without any
real evidence of terrorism, and ultimately without netting virtually any
terrorists of any kind," Cole says. "We are seeking, as [US Attorney
General] John Ashcroft repeatedly says, to prevent the next atrocity from
occurring. So we lock people up not for what they have done, but for what we
suspect they might do."

The most frequently cited example of an important terrorism case resulting
from the administration's new antiterrorism powers is the February
indictment of former University of South Florida computer science professor
Sami al-Arian. He was charged with being a key operative providing funding
and organizational help to the Palestinian terror group Islamic Jihad.
According to Bush administration officials, the Arian case is a prime
example of how the Patriot Act has helped connect the dots between domestic
intelligence and courtroom evidence.

Mr. Arian has long denied allegations that he was involved in Palestinian
terrorism. He says he is being harassed because of his political views
critical of Israel and favoring Palestinian rights. Arian was under federal
surveillance throughout most of the '90s, but prosecutors were unable to use
data obtained in domestic spying to build a solid case against him until
passage of the Patriot Act, administration officials say. The indictment
relies largely on 20,000 hours of intelligence intercepts that had been
classified as secret.

The case is being closely watched by American Muslims who worry that some of
their rights have all but disappeared in the post-9/11 climate. "This has
been an effective tool to silence anti-Israeli views in the country," says
Ahmed Bedier of the Florida office of the Council on American Islamic
Relations. "People are afraid to speak up because they don't want to get
into trouble."

The sense of being watched

Nazih Hassan would agree. A Lebanese-born permanent resident of the US, Mr.
Hassan is a Muslim activist in Ann Arbor, Mich. - a profile, he believes,
that may make him an FBI target. If the FBI is searching files on him, he
wouldn't know. And if he, as president of the local Muslim Community
Association, were approached by the FBI with a special order requesting
access to the association's records, he'd be barred from revealing that fact
for the rest of his life. Such is the secrecy that surrounds Section 215 of
the Patriot Act, the provision that allows the FBI to obtain records or
"tangible things" about a person without showing "probable cause" that the
person has done anything wrong.

Hassan's community association, along with five other Muslim and Arab
groups, is party to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union
charging Section 215 violates its privacy, due process, and free-speech

The obvious rejoinder: How do the groups know their rights are being
violated? The answer is, they can't know - because of Section 215's secrecy
requirements - but from experience, such as visits by FBI informants and
subpoenas requesting information, they believe they may be under
surveillance. That's had a chilling effect on the group, Hassan says.

"Some people are afraid to cite verses of the Koran that include the word
'jihad' when leading prayers, because they think the government is
listening," Hassan says, noting that most of the time, "jihad" simply means

Hassoun: 'I just want to go home'

Like Hassan in Michigan, Adham Hassoun was an outspoken member of the Muslim
community in south Florida. But he has no doubt about where he stands with
federal investigators. For 15 months he's been detained at Miami's Krome
Detention Center and has been ordered deported to Lebanon because of alleged
links to terrorism.

The computer programmer and father of three sons ages 3, 9, and 11, has
lived in south Florida for 13 years. Unlike virtually everyone else ordered
deported after 9/11, he has never been charged with violating US law.

When taken into custody in June 2002, he had a valid work permit and a
pending application to become a permanent resident. Despite months of FBI
questioning, federal authorities declined to file criminal charges against
him. Instead, the FBI turned over a three-page affidavit to immigration
officials outlining suspicions that Hassoun was involved in terrorist
activities. Immigration officials used the document to urge Hassoun be

It is unclear why the FBI would seek to have someone it says is a terrorist
released from US custody and sent to the volatile Middle East. Government
officials decline to discuss the case. Hassoun says he suspects his troubles
began when someone in south Florida made false accusations against him of
cutting a deal or currying favor with counterterr-orism agents. He says the
agents were routinely threatening to prosecute or deport anyone who did not
fully cooperate with investigators.

Despite his legal status in the US, the lack of criminal charges, his family
ties, and his steady job, an immigration judge ordered Hassoun deported. The
sole reason: the three-page FBI affidavit.

During the secret deportation hearing, the judge denied requests by Hassoun
and his lawyer to learn the identity of and cross-examine the unnamed
individual or individuals who made the terrorism accusations, as well as a
request to cross-examine the FBI agent who wrote the affidavit. The
affidavit itself is a secret document. Both Hassoun and his lawyer, Aktar
Hussain, say they cannot reveal any details from it.

In a court of law, such a document is usually considered inadmissible as
hearsay evidence. That's because the Sixth Amendment guarantees a right to
confront those making serious accusations. But there is no way to
cross-examine a document to ascertain whether the information it contains is
accurate or mere speculation.

Legal experts say an immigration hearing is a civil proceeding with lower
legal standards than a criminal proceeding. But it is unclear whether
Hassoun has the constitutional right to confront his accusers in such a
hearing. Hassoun appealed his deportation order and lost. The Board of
Immigration Appeals wrote: "While respondent denies any involvement in
terrorism, he has not provided any evidence demonstrating that he was not
involved in terrorist activity."

In effect, the appeals board is requiring Hassoun to prove his innocence -
without being able to confront those who accuse him of being a terrorist.
"When you don't allow anyone to subpoena any witnesses, how can someone
prove their innocence?" asks Mr. Hussain. "We even said, 'You don't have to
give us the name, just bring him in court so we can question where this
information is coming from.' "

Hussain, an immigrant from Pakistan specializing in immigration law, says
he'd never seen such a hearing. "I got very scared myself sitting in there,"
he says. Hassoun says he answered all the questions as best he could during
his repeated FBI interrogations. But he believes he's being punished because
he refused to speculate about anyone in the south Florida Muslim community
who might be involved in terrorism.

"When they are trying to pinpoint people who are a danger to the country,
they were rounding up people right and left including drug dealers and
others who wanted to save their necks," Hassoun says. "Some of them pointed
at me. When they detained me, they said, 'Help us and we will help you.' "
Hassoun refused. "I am willing to do anything that will take me out of here
and send me back home to my family, but I will never make up stories or put
people's lives in jeopardy because I want to look good with the feds," he
says. He adds, "The people I might see in the mosque, you never know what
they might have inside. But the people I know personally, none are a threat
to the country."

Hassoun is asking a federal judge to look into his case and has appealed his
deportation to the federal appeals court in Atlanta. Immigration-law experts
say that in cases mentioning terrorism, the chances of success on appeal are
slim. "I just want to go home," he says. "Enough is enough."

How the scales of Justice may turn

Sometimes, it is said, the best defense is a good offense. That's what the
Bush administration appears to be doing as it pushes for additional powers
to fight the war on terrorism - even as it fights criticism that some of the
power it gained after Sept. 11 threatens civil liberties.

On the eve of Thursday's 9/11 anniversary, President Bush called on Congress
to expand the government's ability to go after terror suspects. His most
controversial proposal would allow federal law-enforcement agencies to issue
their own subpoenas in terror-suspect cases, bypassing the check of going to
a judge or grand jury. Bush also proposed allowing judges to deny bail for
terror suspects and called for expansion of the death penalty in
terror-related crimes.

The bold initiative comes after months of debate over whether some
provisions in the USA Patriot Act, the sweeping antiterrorism law enacted
Oct. 26, 2001, already intrude too heavily into individuals' rights. Early
this year, the draft of a bill dubbed "Patriot II" - including some of the
items Bush just proposed - leaked from Congress, but was shelved after sharp

Another slap at the administration came on July 22, when the House of
Representatives voted to defund Section 213 of the Patriot Act - the
provision for so-called "sneak and peak" searches, in which warrants are
granted in secret and the target is notified after an indefinite delay.
Perhaps most troubling to the Bush administration, the measure was sponsored
by a conservative Republican, Rep. C.L. Otter of Idaho; in all, 111
Republicans voted for the repeal. When Congress first approved the 342-page
Patriot Act, few from either party dissented. Beyond the Otter amendment,
House members have introduced bills to repeal other portions of the Patriot

Still, on balance, polls show the public remains satisfied that the Bush
administration is honoring civil liberties. In a new Monitor/TIPP poll, 38
percent said the Patriot Act was just right, 28 percent said it gave the
government too much power, and 12 percent said it gave the government too
little power. But Attorney General John Ashcroft hasn't taken chances. Since
Aug. 19, he's been on a road show, defending the Patriot Act before
invitation-only audiences, mainly of law-enforcement and military personnel.

"It is a little paradoxical in some ways," says David Rudovsky, a law
professor at the University of Pennsylvania. "But I think what he's trying
to do is shore up his defense and turn that a little bit into offense, to
say, 'Not only has [the Patriot Act] worked, but we don't have enough yet.
We need even more powers, and you'll be even safer.' "

On Capitol Hill, some Republican aides expressed skepticism that Bush will
win the new law enforcement powers easily. Not long ago, key Republican
members in both judiciary committees warned the White House to hold off on
new legislation. But even if Bush loses on the Hill, he still wins with the
public, says a Senate GOP staffer. "It gives the administration the ability
to make the argument that 'we've kept you safe, we've tried, we've done our
best,'" says the aide.

Key provisions of the USA Patriot Act

Expands the range of crimes trackable by electronic surveillance.

Allows police to use 'roving wiretaps' to track any phone a terrorism
suspect might use.

Permits law enforcement to conduct searches with delayed notification - the
so-called "sneak and peak" provision.

Allows FBI agents, with secret court orders, to search personal records
(business, medical, library, etc.) without probably cause in
national-security terrorism cases.

Lowers legal barriers in information-sharing between criminal investigators
and intelligence officials.

Provides new tools for fighting international money laundering.

Makes it a crime to harbor terrorists.

Increases penalties for conspiracy - such as plotting arson, killing in
federal facilities, attacking communications systems, supporting terrorists,
or interfering with flight crews.

Makes it easier for law-enforcement agents to obtain search warrants any
place where "terrorist-related" activities occur; allows nationwide search
warrants (including the monitoring of Internet use, e-mail, and computer
bills) in terrorism investigations.

Allows the attorney general to detain foreign terrorism suspects - but
charges, deportation proceedings, or release must come within a week.

Sends more federal agents to patrol the US-Canada border.

Ends surveillance and wiretap measures in 2005.
Sources: Wire services and The Department of Homeland Security

-----Original Message-----
From: Vermont Skiing Discussion and Snow Reports
[mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of Skip King
Sent: Wednesday, February 11, 2004 9:58 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [SKIVT-L] A funny thing happened to me on the way home from

At 09:18 AM 2/11/04, Dan Ellis wrote:

>Skip, the government did intern thousands of Arabic people after sept
>11th, without charge and most of whom have now been released with their
>reputation in tatters, the others were deported on visa violations.

A bit overstated, Dan.  "Thousands" were not "interned" - many were brought
in, questioned and released.  If you can point me to clear, bona fide
evidence to the contrary, I should very much like to see it.  There is no
lack of "tin foil hat" websites out there purporting such claims, but if
there has been any detailed investigation by a reputable press organization
supporting this premise, I appear tohave missed it.  I have no problem with
those deported on visa violations.  People here on invalid visas should be
deported regardless of national origin.  My reference was to the fact that
the US rounded up and interned thousands of Japanese during WWII - many of
who were actually US citizens - and held these people until the end of the
war.  Please understand that I do not support the internment of anyone
based on race or national origin - I merely made the point to suggest
historical reference, in that it shows that this government has actually
acted with more restraint under the current situation than the US has
demonstrated in the past.

>Geoff, Jim, Hugh, Skip, your attitude towards me as a foreigner only
>reinforces the feeling that I am not wanted here. I pay the same taxes
>as you do, I pretty much pulled the company I work for out of the 80's,
>my wife fills a job you have a massive shortage of (nurses), my daughter
>is a US citizen but I don't deserve the same rights as you do. I guess
>your ancestors were all American Indians.

?? I really wonder how you can draw the conclusion that I (or any of the
others) don't want you here based on the comments made.  Quoting from my
own previous post:

"The news reports and Dan's story make it pretty clear that the guys in
Vermont are looking for something/someone.  Yeah, sucks, and I'm truly
sorry that you had to go through that, Dan.  This is a new reality, and
we're still working out the bugs. "

My point is simple:  Europeans, based on far greater history with terrorist
attacks than we've experienced here, take aspects of security (to say
nothing of terrorist risk) far more in stride than we do here in the
US.  Americans are playing a catch-up game - and there is bound to be some
fallout as a result.  Your story seems to me as such.  I'm not making
excuses for it, and I repeat that I'm sorry that you had to go through
it.  All I'm saying is that this is our current reality - and if history is
any indication, it is likely to self-correct over time.

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