New York City Residents: Oppose the PATRIOT Act
Congress passed the USA PATRIOT Act only a few weeks after the tragic terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Many parts of this sweeping legislation and related federal actions take away checks on law enforcement and threaten the very rights and freedoms that we are struggling to protect. A resolution pending before the New York City Council responds to these federal actions and defends the rights of NYC residents.
This resolution reaffirms New York City's commitment to protecting civil liberties, including the right to engage in political activities without fear of government spying.
The resolution also raises serious concerns with certain provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act and related federal actions. In particular, the resolution urges that law enforcement agencies within New York City refrain from engaging in certain invasive powers granted by the USA PATRIOT Act; maintaining files on the political and religious affiliations of NYC residents; profiling based solely on ethnicity, race, religion national origin, or political views; and conducting unnecessary investigations, interrogations, surveillance or detentions.
Thirty-three Council Members have already signed on as co-sponsors to the Resolution. Let's tell Speaker Miller that New Yorkers stand behind him.
Take Action! Tell City Council Speaker Gifford Miller you welcome his support for this resolution.
The USA PATRIOT Act allows the FBI to investigate Americans not suspected of a crime. The USA PATRIOT Act goes beyond fighting terrorism and makes every American a suspect. For example, the USA PATRIOT Act gives law enforcement broad access to many types of records -- educational, medical, financial, sales, and library -- without probable cause of a crime. It also prohibits the holders of this information, like librarians, from disclosing that they have produced such records, under the threat of imprisonment.
People from across the political spectrum think the PATRIOT Act went too far. To date, three states and over 200 communities across the country have enacted local resolutions calling for protection of civil liberties. Albany and Syracuse have already acted. Conservative organizations including the Eagle Forum, Gun Owners of America and the American Conservative Union have joined the New York Civil Liberties Union, the American Library Association, People for the American Way and many other organizations in calling on government to respect Americans' civil liberties.
Spying on innocent Americans. The USA PATRIOT Act and changes to government investigative guidelines permit a vast array of information on U.S. citizens to be collected and shared with the CIA (and other non-law enforcement officials) without proper judicial oversight or other safeguards. This law effectively puts the CIA back in the business of spying on Americans.
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