Statement - The Japanese American Citizens League

April 20, 2006

The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), founded in 1929, is the nation’s oldest and largest Asian American non-profit, non-partisan organization committed to upholding the civil rights of Americans of Japanese ancestry and others.

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Prior to the outbreak of hostilities between the United States and Japan during World War II, U.S. military intelligence services and the FBI conducted clandestine surveillance of Japanese American communities, claiming that this segment of the American population posed a potential threat to national security. This warrantless surveillance included interception of mail, wiretaps, and covert searches and included American citizens of Japanese descent.

Experiencing that in times of war or declared military necessity, our government must be vigilant in protecting each American citizen’s constitutional guaranties, the JACL has a substantial interest in safeguarding the civil rights of all Americans and to speak out against actions that threaten a repetition of the type of unwarranted government surveillance that helped lead to the mistreatment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

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