Measures to Protect Women Could Expand FBI's DNA Database

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Most states collect DNA samples only from people convicted of crimes, and that's been true of the federal government as well.  While the original targets were undocumented workers suspected of crimes, a year ago President Bush signed an amendment to the Violence Against Women Act that would vastly increase federal power. The Justice Department will soon issue rules for collecting DNA from "any person arrested under federal authority and from any non-US person who is detained." Civil-liberties watchdogs claim that the broad language could result in hikers stopped by park rangers or airline passengers subjected to screening to surrender their genetic codes. Why is the new law part of VAWA?  How did it pass without debate, by voice vote, virtually unnoticed?  Is it a good move for law enforcement or an overextension of federal powers?




Warren Olney