Tuesday, June 03, 2003

This country is hell on overreacting:

WASHINGTON - Hundreds of illegal immigrants detained in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks were kept in ``unduly harsh'' conditions, delayed from meeting with their lawyers and abused physically and mentally, according to an internal Justice Department report released Monday.

The report, from the department's inspector general, criticized the Federal Bureau of Investigation for making few attempts to weed out immigrants who were guilty of overstaying their visas from those with terrorist ties. The FBI in New York City ``made little attempt to distinguish'' between immigrants with possible terrorism links and those ``encountered coincidentally'' in the investigation, the report said.

The findings represented a high-level validation of concerns raised by civil rights groups about the broad net authorities have cast in prosecuting the campaign against terrorism, but Justice Department officials said they believed they have acted legally.