Bush Administration Plans Defense of Terror Law

Another story (from the NYT) on John Ashcroft going around the country in support of the PATRIOT Act.

An interesting excerpt:

“The majority of American people are clearly supportive of our counterterrorism efforts, including the use of the Patriot Act,” said Mark Corallo, a department spokesman. “It’s important that after months of misinformation being spread by a small but vocal minority inside the Beltway that we go out beyond Washington and talk to people in law enforcement and let them know that their efforts are appreciated.”

Viet Dinh, a former Justice Department official who drafted the Patriot Act, said that Mr. Ashcroft’s agenda would be “to correct the misperceptions that are out there and to disabuse the American public of the misinformation they’ve gotten.”

The themes will be similar to those that Mr. Ashcroft and top aides have voiced for months — that the Patriot Act is essential to fight terrorism and that critics have distorted what the law does to make it seem more onerous than it really is. But the heightened pitch of his message underscores the urgency of a political debate that many Republicans and Democrats say they think the administration is losing.