FC: Update: National ID cards; biometrics; secret military tribunals

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Sat Nov 17 2001 - 19:16:31 PST

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       Oracle Keeps Pushing ID Card
       By Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
       2:00 p.m. Nov. 17, 2001 PST
       WASHINGTON -- Oracle still seems to adore the idea of a national ID
       At a congressional hearing on Friday, a company executive echoed the
       pro-ID arguments that Oracle CEO Larry Ellison drew fire for
       popularizing last month.
       "By establishing a standard and secure national identifier, we could
       ensure that any system that chose to use it could effectively share
       information with other systems that use it," Oracle vice president Tim
       Hoechst said.
       [Sen. Dianne] Feinstein has introduced the Visa Entry Reform Act to create
       a "SmartVisa" card for immigrants, which would include fingerprints,
       retinal scans or face recognition data.
       "If we had biometrics, we could have potentially forestalled the Sept.
       11 attacks," Feinstein said.
       Michael Kirkpatrick, assistant director in charge of the FBI's
       Criminal Justice Information Service Division, saw things differently.
       "There is no sign that biometrics will be a be-all end-all,"
       Kirkpatrick said. "Fingerprints will play a role in identifying
       someone and enrolling them in the system. To my knowledge, none of the
       Sept. 11 terrorists were in the FBI's database."
       Associated Press Writer
       November 16, 2001, 5:43 PM EST
       WASHINGTON -- Newt Gingrich and other former Republican lawmakers
       predicted Friday that a new national identification card system will
       probably never become a reality despite the Sept. 11 terrorist
       "It's a dead end. It won't happen," Gingrich told a House Government
       Reform subcommittee.
       Talking about national IDs smacks of Nazism and "Big Brother" in
       people's minds, and Congress will not have the political support to
       get it through, said former Sen. Alan Simpson, R-Wy. "You use the
       words 'national ID,' it's over," he said.
       Indeed, former Rep. Bill McCollum, R-Fla., called a new
       all-encompassing national identification system "offensive" and said
       it "contradicts some of our most sacrosanct American principles of
       personal liberty and expectations of privacy and is far in excess of
       what is needed to provide us with the security and protections we all
       Leahy challenges Bush on military tribunals [blackline-small.gif]
       By Jerry Seper
            The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday
       challenged President Bush's call for special U.S. military tribunals
       to try foreigners accused of terrorist attacks, saying the trials
       could give the world the impression that the United States is looking
       for "victor's justice."
            "We need to understand the international implications of the
       president's order, which sends a message to the world that it is
       acceptable to hold secret trials and summary executions, without the
       possibility of judicial review," said Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont
       Democrat, in what many consider the opening volley of a bitter fight
       by Democrats to oppose the trials.
            "Could this put U.S. citizens abroad, including military
       personnel and peacekeepers, at grave risk? We also must take care not
       to give the court of world opinion the impression that what we have in
       mind is victor's justice," he said.
    Press Release
       November 16, 2001 Contact: Dena Graziano
       (202) 226-6888
                               ANTI-TERRORISM ACTIONS
           Congressman Conyers and other  Members of Congress hold press
                               conference to express
        concerns regarding the Administration's actions on Military Tribunals
                                and Anti-terrorism.
       Today Congressman John Conyers, Jr., Ranking Member of the House
       Judiciary Committee joined Congressman Bob Barr (R-GA), Congressman
       Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA), Congressman Mel
       Watt (D-NC), Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Congresswoman Sheila
       Jackson Lee (D-TX), Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Congressman
       Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) to address the recent actions taken by the
       Administration regarding Military Tribunals and other anti-terrorism
       Congressman Conyers issued the following statement regarding these
       recent actions:
       "Today we stand on the verge of a civil liberties calamity in this
       country. The Administration and the Attorney General have taken a
       series of constitutionally dubious actions that place the Executive
       branch in the untenable role of legislator, prosecutor, judge, and
       Certainly, we stand together as a nation in our collective outrage
       over the September 11th terrorist attacks. However, we do nothing to
       win the battle against terrorism by sacrificing our precious freedoms
       and liberties.
       We have been down this road of overreaction before. During the Civil
       War, Abraham Lincoln suspended habeas corpus. After World War I, our
       government wrongfully beat and deported thousands of immigrants.
       During World War II, we placed Japanese-Americans in internment camps.
       After the Oklahoma City bombing we gutted habeas corpus and decimated
       our immigration laws.
       When Congress passed the Anti-Terrorism bill last month, I was
       concerned that the Attorney General would unilaterally and
       unjustifiably seek to expand the government's powers. But I never
       dreamed he would make me a prophet so quickly. Since then Mr. Aschroft
       has dealt one hammer blow after another to the very constitutional
       values he repeatedly promised to uphold at his confirmation hearings.
       First, the Attorney General totally ignored my letter of October 31st
       asking for information concerning the 1,000 plus immigrants who have
       been detained for undisclosed reasons since the September attacks.
       On October 31st, the Attorney General issued regulations permitting
       the Department of Justice to unilaterally intercept attorney-client
       phone calls.
       On November 9th, the Administration announced a policy of ethnic
       profiling by which it would discriminate in granting visas to men from
       middle eastern countries and target 5,000 Arab male visitors for
       intensive questioning. Surely in 21st Century America we can do better
       than saying than if you are Arab you are a suspect.
       Finally, on November 13th, the Administration announced the creation
       of secret military courts to try immigrants and other foreigners for
       terrorism offenses.
       Collectively, the Administration has swept away the independent
       judiciary, the right to a public trial, the right to an appeal, the
       right to counsel, due process, equal protection and habeas corpus. Not
       bad for two week's work.
       We are here to remind our Attorney General that the Constitution
       applies just as forcefully after September 11th as it did before
       September 11th. I urge the Administration to not only reconsider these
       hasty actions, but to commit to consult and work with Congress before
       they issue any further edicts which erode our civil liberties and
       alienate our enemies."
                         Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy,
                       Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee,
                      On The Administration's Executive Order
                               On Military Tribunals
                                   Nov. 14, 2001
       "Because there has been no consultation with Congress, we are left
       with more questions than answers about what the Administration has in
       mind in taking this step. We need to understand the international
       implications of the President's order, which sends a message to the
       world that it is acceptable to hold secret trials and summary
       executions, without the possibility of judicial review, at least when
       the defendant is a foreign national. Could this put U.S. citizens
       abroad, including military personnel and peacekeepers, at grave risk?
       We also must take care not to give the court of world opinion the
       impression that what we have in mind is victor's justice. We want the
       coalition the President has forged to remain at our side for the long
       term, not just for the moment. We do not want to make it less likely
       that other countries will cooperate with us -- perhaps even
       jeopardizing their willingness to turn over suspected terrorists.
       "Other questions have to do with how this fits under our Constitution
       and legal system. The President's order covers suspected terrorists
       arrested here as well as abroad. In the past and as recently as in the
       anti-terrorism bill, the Administration has sought and Congress has
       created new criminal offenses specifically aimed at terrorists,
       anticipating that they will be charged and prosecuted as regular
       criminals, not war criminals. There has been no formal declaration of
       war, and in the meantime, our civilian courts remain open and
       available to try suspected terrorists. All this raises questions about
       whether the President can lawfully authorize the use of military
       commissions to try persons arrested here.
       "The way this was handled also contributes to the rising concern in
       Congress about this administration's preference for unilateralism as
       it promotes policy changes ranging from restructuring the INS to
       eavesdropping on detainees' conversations with their attorneys to this
       order on military tribunals. This approach needlessly threatens the
       unity that Congress and the Administration have forged since Sept. 11.
       We are all in this together, and the spirit of bipartisanship that has
       largely prevailed in Congress since Sept. 11 must be reciprocated by
       the Administration if it is to endure."
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