August 7, 2003

ASHCROFT IS PUSHING THE “VICTORY ACT” NOW. Some of it sounds uncontroversial, or at least mostly so:

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) is expected to introduce the Victory Act next month. If passed, the feds would be allowed to:

Clamp down on Arab hawala transactions, where cash exchanged in an honor system has been funneled to terrorists.

Get business records without a court order in terrorism probes and delay notification.

Track wireless communications with a roving warrant.

Okay, the “business records” thing is something I’d like to know more about, but I can at least imagine that it’s okay. But then there’s this howler:

Increase sentences for drug kingpins to 40 years in prison and $4 million in fines.

Excuse me? What does this have to do with terrorism? (And isn’t “drug kingpin” just so very 1994?)

To be trusted with wartime powers, an Administration — and an Attorney General — needs to demonstrate trustworthiness and self-discipline. This effort to sneak in a pet DoJ issue that has nothing to do with terrorism fails the test.

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