ACLU, American Conservative Union and Islamic Free Market Institute Launch New Ads, Right-Left Partnership Calls for No Expansions of Patriot Act

September 28, 2004 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – The American Civil Liberties Union, the American Conservative Union and the Islamic Free Market Institute Foundation today launched a new print advertisement in the Washington Times urging all members of Congress not to “confuse the Patriot Act with patriotism” and specifically asked Congress not to include any expansions of the controversial Patriot Act in any legislation to implement the 9/11 commission’s recommendations.

“As this unusual alliance demonstrates, preserving freedom and privacy are not limited to one political ideology,” said Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “Nowhere in the 9/11 commission’s report was there a call for an expansion of the Patriot Act. Any legislation designed to implement the commission’s recommendations should not include any Patriot 2 powers.”

“Preserving freedom and liberty is an ideal that transcends party politics,” added David Keene, Chairman of the American Conservative Union, the nation’s oldest conservative organization. “While few would disagree with the need for many of the anti-terrorist tools included in the Patriot Act, any legislation passed in haste is likely to need fine-tuning. As Congress implements the recommendations of the 9/11 commission, we must always remember that it is our way of life and the freedoms that make this nation unique that we are defending.”

“As we continue to make our nation secure, we must not pursue policies that create scapegoats out of hardworking and law-abiding Muslim and Arab Americans,” said Khaled Saffuri, Chairman of the Islamic Free Market Institute Foundation. “Our history as free and democratic nation demands no less.”

Following the release of the 9/11 commission’s report, multiple measures have been introduced in Congress to implement their recommendations. In the advertisements set to run today in the Washington Times, the ACLU, the ACU and the Islamic Free Market Institute Foundation call on lawmakers to not include any expansions of the Patriot Act in any legislation to implement the 9/11 commission’s recommendations. Similar ads are running in Alaska, Wisconsin and Utah.

In the Senate, the leading legislation is the Collins-Lieberman “National Intelligence Reform Act of 2004” (S. 2845), which closely mirrors the commission’s findings, and according to the ACLU, contains none of the provisions of the draft “Patriot Act 2” legislation leaked from the Justice Department last year. The Senate is expected to vote on this legislation as early as Wednesday.

The House leadership unveiled its bill late last Friday, and its “9/11 Commission Implementation Act” contains several Patriot 2 provisions, and other expansions on law enforcement powers not called for by the 9/11 commission. The ACLU called the House bill a “virtual wish list for law enforcement that would undermine liberty.”

Across the United States, more than 356 communities of all political stripes – including four states – have passed resolutions calling for a fix to troubling sections of the Patriot Act. Many contain language calling for the most controversial provisions of the Patriot Act to be brought back in line with American traditions.

“Commitment to the Constitution should transcend political ideologies,” the ACLU’s Murphy said. “It’s not often that our three organizations agree – but when we do, it’s because of our commitment to preserve freedom and liberty. Congress must listen to the millions of Americans who demand that we be both safe and free.”

To view the advertisement running in the Washington Times, go to:
/node/23066

To view the advertisement running in Alaska, go to:
/node/23067

To view the advertisement running in Utah, go to:
/node/23068

To view the advertisement running in Wisconsin, go to:
/node/23069

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