The secret administration of the Patriot Act was a matter of serious concern for Americans, according to Washington lawyer and author David Cole.
Speaking in an interview with the legal news website LawFuel, Professor Cole, who teaches at Georgetown University and recently wrote the book “Enemy Aliens”, said the Bush administration’s record is so bad in other areas, “preventive detention, ethnic profiling, abuse of trial rights, and denial of access to attorneys – that one cannot have much confidence that the Patriot Act is being used responsibly.”
Although the country had already crossed the ‘citizen/non-citizen’ line by applying “enemy combatants” to US citizens he said the country was far more “rights sensitive” today than it was immediately following 9/11.
“I think the tide is turning, at least on some issues, and people are beginning to express greater concern about their civil liberties.”
Although he does not believe there will be any turning back of the Patriot Act, he believes there will be a continuation of moves to cure its “excesses”.
Professor Cole said the history of American intrusion into privacy and civil rights would continue, as it had previously with foreign nationals. He hopes that the sunset in 2005 will see the worst of the Act’s provisions reconsidered.