John Ashcroft: The Patriot Act defeats terrorism

From a speech by the US Attorney General to the American Enterprise Institute in Washington
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The Independent Online

It is critical for everyone to understand what the Patriot Act means for our success in the war against terrorism. Armed with the tools provided by the Patriot Act, the men and women of justice and law enforcement have dedicated themselves to the unfinished work of those who resisted, those who assisted, and those who sacrificed on 11 September.

We have neutralised alleged terrorist cells in Buffalo, Detroit, Seattle and Portland.

To date, we have brought 255 criminal charges, and 132 individuals have been convicted or pled guilty.

All told, more than 3,000 suspected terrorists have been arrested in many countries. Many more have met a different fate.

We have worked hard, but we have not laboured alone.

Our efforts have been supported by Republicans and Democrats in Congress.

Our efforts have been ratified by the courts in legal challenge after legal challenge.

Our efforts have been rewarded by the trust of the American people. A two-to-one majority of Americans believe the Patriot Act is a necessary and effective tool that protects liberty, because it targets terrorists; 91 per cent of Americans understand that the Patriot Act has not affected their civil rights or the civil rights of their families.

The painful lessons of 11 September remain touchstones, reminding us of government's responsibility to its people. Those lessons have directed us down a path that preserves life and liberty.

The cause we have chosen is just. The course we have chosen is constitutional. The course we have chosen is preserving lives. For two years Americans have been safe. Because we are safer, our liberties are more secure.