Get Tougher on Terrorists, Urges Ashcroft

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Attorney General John D. Ashcroft told Congress he would like to strengthen the USA Patriot Act to allow capital punishment for all terrorist acts that result in fatalities and to prevent suspects accused of terrorism from being released on bond.

Three days after the Justice Department’s inspector general suggested that law enforcement agencies had mistreated hundreds of immigrant detainees taken into custody after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Ashcroft asked Congress to tighten several Patriot Act provisions, calling them “weaknesses which terrorists could exploit.”

Ashcroft testified before the House Judiciary Committee, where Republicans lauded his efforts and Democrats expressed tempered concerns about whether civil liberties were being trampled in the name of national security under the 19-month-old Patriot Act, which gave Justice far-reaching new powers to gather information and crack down on terrorists.


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