ACLU, Conservative and Liberal Allies Denounce National ID Card Plan in Intelligence Reform Bill

November 15, 2004 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – The American Civil Liberties Union today joined with organizations from across the political spectrum to run a full-page open letter advertisement in the Washington Times, asking the conference committee on intelligence reform to remove the national ID provisions from its final 9/11 intelligence reform legislation. The conferees are currently working to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the bill.

“When groups this diverse unite against an issue, it is clearly about poor policy – not partisan politics,” said Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “A national ID is a bad idea. It would strip Americans of their rights to privacy while doing nothing to protect America from future terrorist attacks.”

The ad urges the committee to remove provisions from the final intelligence reform package that would create a national ID card. A national ID card, the open letter says, would create an unprecedented invasion of the privacy rights guaranteed by the Constitution and would allow the government to constantly monitor everyone with a driver’s license or identification card.

A national ID card would do little to stop terrorist attacks and would cost billions of dollars to develop and implement. Similar attempts to create a national ID were rejected by every Congress and Administration that has considered it since President Ronald Reagan.

In addition, the creation of a national ID card system would not prevent the use of faulty documents, such as birth certificates, to obtain government ID. Such a system would not have thwarted the September 11 hijackers, many of whom reportedly had identification documents on them, and were in the country legally.

The letter was signed by the American Civil Liberties Union, American Conservative Union, American Library Association, Gun Owners of America, Republican Liberty Caucus, American Immigration Lawyers Association, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, Free Congress Foundation, and approximately 40 other organizations.

“We all want a country that is as safe as possible,” said Marvin Johnson, an ACLU Legislative Counsel. “But ‘Big Brother’ provisions such as a national ID card would only serve to restrict our freedoms and invade our privacy and do nothing to ensure our security.”

To view the advertisement, go to:

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