WASHINGTON -- Rep. Bob Barr, R-GA, yesterday released information
exposing an effort by the Department of Justice to obtain massive new
enforcement powers in the closing days of the 105th Congress.
Barr obtained the information from a confidential source within
federal law enforcement. Among other things, the Department's "wish
list" for new authority includes (among others):
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- A vastly expanded definition of terrorism to include domestic
crimes having no relationship to terrorism.
- The power to seize commercial transportation assets for federal
- The ability to commandeer personnel from other federal agencies
- Expanded wiretap authority to allow "roving" wiretaps, and wiretaps
without any court authority.
- Enlarged asset forfeiture provisions to allow the FBI to seize
personal property in both criminal and civil matters.
- The establishment of a permanent "FBI Police Force."
- Loosening of Posse Comitatus restrictions to allow more military
involvement in domestic law enforcement.
- Authority to force telephone and Internet companies to divulge
information on their customers.
"These requests belong in some bizarre conspiracy novel, not in
serious legislative documents being circulated at the top levels of
federal law enforcement. These proposals represent a sneak attack on the
most cherished principles of our democracy. If they become a part of our
law, freedom and privacy in America will be permanently and severely
diminished," said Barr. Barr also noted the Department and the FBI are
"shopping" this wish list in an effort to get the items placed in a
spending measure without hearings or debate.