Letter to the Editor: Unanswered Questions

December 17, 2005
The following letter from ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero appeared in The New York Times on December 20, 2005.

To the Editor:

The New York Times is to be applauded for its remarkable reporting. Whether oaths of office were broken, federal laws violated and Americans subjected to surveillance without judicial approval and oversight goes right to the heart of our democracy and a system of checks and balances.

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With so many unanswered questions, the only way to get to the bottom of this controversy is to appoint a special counsel with sufficient independence and legal authority.

Another unanswered question is why it took a year for this story to see the light of day in The Times.

While we all understand the need for ensuring that sensitive information on national security not be released irresponsibly, we must also ensure that our independent institutions do not readily succumb to pressure from the Bush administration to suppress information vital to the workings of our democracy.

Indeed, we are fortunate that the White House efforts on the Patriot Act met with resistance separate and apart from the Times report. If the Patriot Act had been permanently extended and if your article had run after the fact, we would all be asking different questions of New York Times editors about the delay.

Anthony Romero
Executive Director
American Civil Liberties Union
Miami, Dec. 17, 2005

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