Who's for the Bill of Rights?

The Return of J. Edgar Hoover

Not a word from Clinton, Gore, Bush, Cheney, or Lieberman. Democratic senator Patrick Leahy is exercised about it; and after I told them, staffers for senators Russell Feingold and Paul Wellstone showed interest. But the rest of the Democrats haven't been heard from yet.

This new black bag job bill was slipped into a Senate methamphetamine bill on November 19, 1999. Bob Barr has had it killed in the House Judiciary Committee, but there will be attempts to sneak it into a House-Senate conference report on one of the big appropriations bills that will be voted on soon. Barr, Leahy, the ACLU, and the invaluable Jim Dempsey of the Center for Democracy and Technology in Washington are watching closely to detect this poisonous virus before it's too late.

But Bush, Gore, and Clinton will remain silent, as they did when the roving wiretaps bill became law—and as they did when the government got permission to use secret evidence in immigration cases. And so will the editorial writers and reporters in the mainstream press. My initial story on the secret searches was picked up mainly by radio stations in various states.

If either Bush or Gore is elected, the degradation of constitutional rights will continue, because when the press is ignorant, so is the populace. As the writ of habeas corpus died in the Senate, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan said to me, "Where the hell was the press?" He didn't have to ask where Clinton, Gore, Lieberman, Bush, and Hillary were.

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