GOP candidates show sharp differences on national security and terrorism

Clash on civil liberties: The Republican presidential candidates clashed repeatedly over foreign policy and national security issues Tuesday night, revealing clear differences on the pace of withdrawal from Afghanistan, aid to Pakistan, the Iranian threat, immigration, and the balance between protecting the homeland and preserving civil liberties.

The debate opened with a clash over the USA Patriot Act and the trade-off between civil liberties and homeland security. Paul called the Patriot Act “unpatriotic.” He said that there is no need to “sacrifice liberty for security” and that the criminal justice system had effectively dealt with Timothy J. McVeigh, who was responsible for the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

Gingrich responded: “Timothy McVeigh succeeded. That’s the whole point. Timothy McVeigh killed a lot of Americans. I don’t want a law that says after we lose a major American city, we’re sure going to come and find you. I want a law that says, you try to take out an American city, we’re going to stop you.”

As part of the discussion, Santorum said he would support profiling “radical Muslims” to prevent terrorist attacks. But he was quickly criticized by Paul, who offered: “What if they look like Timothy McVeigh? He was a tough criminal.”

In anticipation of Tuesday’s debate, the Democrats mounted a full-court press to preemptively challenge Romney and the Republicans and to promote the president’s foreign policy record. Polls show that the public gives Obama good marks on foreign policy and terrorism, in contrast to low numbers on the economy and the deficit.

Editorial: Obama’s secrets

The Obama administration should rethink its outrageous proposal that would allow the government to lie to citizens about whether documents exist.

One of the most disappointing attributes of the Obama administration has been its proclivity for secrecy. The president who committed himself to “an unprecedented level of openness in government” has followed the example of his predecessor by invoking the “state secrets” privilege to derail litigation about government misdeeds in the war on terror. He has refused to release the administration’s secret interpretation of the Patriot Act, which two senators have described as alarming. He has blocked the dissemination of photographs documenting the abuse of prisoners by U.S. service members. And now his Justice Department has proposed to allow government agencies to lie about the existence of documents being sought under the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA.

Even without the new rule, federal law enforcement agents have denied the existence of important documents. In a lawsuit involving surveillance of Muslim organizations in Southern California, the FBI was reprimanded by a federal judge. “The Government cannot, under any circumstance, affirmatively mislead the court,” wrote Judge Cormac J. Carney. The FBI justified its misrepresentation by citing national security.

Muslims call for reforms 10 years after Patriot Act

A Muslim civil rights group is accusing the FBI and other federal agencies of “bad policing” and flaunting the Constitution in a 56-page report released to mark the 10th anniversary of the Patriot Act.

The Tuesday (Oct. 25) report by Muslim Advocates, “Losing Liberty: The State of Freedom 10 Years After The Patriot Act” recommends more than 40 legal and policy changes to enforcement of the anti-terrorism law.
The report accuses the FBI of religious profiling, using informants to spy on mosques, and asking Muslims prohibited questions about their religious beliefs and practices.

“FBI agents are instructed to view Muslims with suspicion by, for example, looking out for converts to Islam and those who wear ‘traditional Muslim attire,? attend mosques, and have strong religious beliefs,” the report said.

5 Muslim immigrants appeal NJ terrorism convictions in deadly Fort Dix plot

PHILADELPHIA — Wiretaps obtained under a Patriot Act provision aimed at gathering foreign intelligence wrongly helped convict Muslim immigrants in a domestic criminal case, defense lawyers argued Monday in U.S. appeals court in Philadelphia.

The lawyers represent five young men convicted of plotting a deadly strike at a New Jersey military base. Prosecutors call evidence in the three-month trial overwhelming and the two wiretaps in question incidental to the conviction.

Prosecutors charged that the Philadelphia-area residents, inspired by al-Qaida, had taken training trips to the Pocono Mountains and scouted out Fort Dix, an Army base in New Jersey used primarily to train reservists for duty in Iraq, and other sites.

US government assures the confidentiality of census data

On Thursday, the US government assured that all information provided in 2010 census will remain confidential. Some minority groups including Muslim Americans had raised questions regarding the confidentiality of their census data given the broad scope of national security federal laws such as the Patriot Act. In a note to Congress, the Obama administration ruled out the disclosure of 2010 census data under the Patriot Act assuring Americans and particularly minorities once again that their information will be kept confidential.

Patriot Act Faulted in Denial of Visa for Muslim Scholar

A lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union asked a federal judge yesterday to declare unconstitutional a part of the Patriot Act that he says allowed a prominent Muslim scholar to be denied a visa. The lawyer, Jameel Jaffer, told Judge Paul A. Crotty of Federal District Court in Manhattan that the provision, allowing the federal government to deny visas to people who ”endorse or espouse terrorist activity,” was a primary reason that the scholar, Tariq Ramadan, was denied a work visa to enter the United States in 2004…

U.S. Muslim Runs For Congress; Abu-Ghazalah Calls For Bringing Home The U.S. Troops Occupying Iraq And Repealing The U.S. Patriot Act

NEWARK, Ohio, February 25 (IslamOnline.net & News Agencies) – Maad Abu-Ghazalah is hoping to be the first Muslim American ever elected to Congress. He will vie in the March 2nd Primary against fellow Democrats Tom Lantos and Rohit Khanna. The Palestinian-born Abu-Ghazalah, 44, has already raised $30,000 at a fundraiser at the Muslim Community Association (MCA) in Santa Clara, California, reported the New California Media (NCM), a group comprising some 700 ethnic communities worldwide. His platform calls for brining home the U.S. troops occupying Iraq, repealing the U.S. Patriot Act, ending the corporate influence on the policy-making mechanism and protecting the environment.