01/26/2006: Pet Peeve Time....
Over at the Leiter Reports, co-blogger Benj Hellie channels Steve Gilliard referencing Mark Crispin Miller in screaming bloody murder over a purported provision of the New PATRIOT Act. Let's quote Professor Miller:
What BushCo wants, according to the fine print (Sec. 605) of the new PATRIOT Act, is a permanent Praetorian Guard, or Cheka, or Gestapo. It's all too easy to come up with apt historical analogies--but not with any from this nation's history.Why has this really been making my skin crawl?
"A permanent police force, to be known as the 'United States Secret Service Uniformed Division,'" empowered to "make arrests without warrant for any offense against the United States committed in their presence" (what is "an offense against the United States?), "or for any felony cognizable under the laws of the United States if they have reasonable grounds to believe that the person to be arrested has committed or is committing such felony" (what are "reasonable grounds"?).
I'm not making this up. See the text and URL below.
If we're going to go batshit paranoid, folks (and remember, just because you're paranoid, that doesn't mean they're not out to get you), at least let's get our facts straight. Whatever its other faults (and I'm sure they're legion), the new PATRIOT Act doesn't create the United States Secret Service, Uniformed Division (USSS, UD). The USSS, UD has existed since 1977 (under that name; it actually traces its lineage back to the "protective force", first under the direction of the White House Military Aide, that has guarded the White House under one name or another (White House Police Force, Executive Protective Service, USSS, UD) since 1860).
Yes, the New PATRIOT Act does seem to extend the jurisdiction of the USSS, UD a bit (see the update to Talk Left's discussion on the matter). It doesn't create a new Praetorian Guard, though.
Len on 01.26.06 @ 01:17 PM CST