ACLU Applauds House Stance Against Intrusive Patriot Act Power; Bipartisan Majority Adopts "Freedom to Read" Amendment
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON - The American Civil Liberties Union today applauded the House of Representatives for adopting the "Freedom to Read" proposal - offered by Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). It denies funding for FBI access to library and bookstore records under section 215 of the Patriot Act. A bipartisan majority (238-187) approved the measure as an amendment to a Department of Justice funding measure.
The following can be attributed to Gregory T. Nojeim, Acting Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office.
"It bodes well that the first vote Congress has taken on the Patriot Act this year has been in favor of liberty and freedom. After weeks of hearings on the Patriot Act, fair-minded lawmakers - from both sides of the aisle - know that the Patriot Act must be brought in line with the Constitution by restoring proper checks and balances."
"By its own admission, the Department of Justice has not used section 215 to target libraries, and yet it insists that it needs this extraordinary power. These records are available in investigations to prevent crimes, including terrorism, when there is sufficient evidence of criminal activity. Acting to protect our 'freedom to read' is a step in the right direction. We call on Congress to amend this provision of the Patriot Act to put in place checks and balances on the use of this power, and to examine other controversial provisions in the same spirit. The Patriot Act can - and must - be amended to preserve our fundamental freedoms."
For more on the ACLU's concerns with the Patriot Act, go to: