ACLU Launches New Patriot Act Radio Ads in Maine, 9/11 Mother Asks Congress Not to Expand Patriot Act

September 24, 2004 12:00 am

Media Contact
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
United States

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Media@dcaclu.org

WASHINGTON- The American Civil Liberties Union today launched a new radio advertisement in its campaign to “Keep America Safe and Free,” featuring a call on Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), Chair of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, to not include any expansions of the controversial Patriot Act in any legislation to implement the 9/11 commission’s recommendations.

“The 9/11 Commission called for a thorough national debate on the Patriot Act, and certainly did not call for an expansion of this hastily passed legislation,” said Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “Senator Collins should listen to the millions of Americans and her fellow members of Congress from both sides of the aisle who think the Patriot Act needs to be brought back in line with the Constitution. Indeed, the state of Maine itself has called for vigilant oversight, and not unneeded extensions of the Patriot Act.”

The radio advertisement, which began to run this week in Maine, features a “letter” to Senator Collins about ongoing attempts to implement the 9/11 commission’s recommendations, and calls upon the Senator to reject efforts to include any Patriot Act expansion measure. The ad features Adele Welty, the mother of a New York City firefighter who died on September 11th, who says that she doesn’t want her son’s death used as justification to “undermine the Constitution.” A similar radio ad will also air in Connecticut.

Earlier this week, the Senate Judiciary Committee heard from the co-sponsors of the bi-partisan Security and Freedom Ensured (SAFE) Act of 2003, a measure designed to fine tune the Patriot Act. Senators Larry Craig (R-ID) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) highlighted the controversial provisions of the Patriot Act, citing the ‘John Doe’ roving wiretaps, “sneak-and-peek” searches, and the law enforcement access to “business” records, including library, financial and medical records. The SAFE Act is designed to provide better protections against government abuse of these and other powers, while still giving law enforcement access to the tools they need.

Across the United States, more than 356 communities of all political stripes – including the legislatures of Maine and three other 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. Maine’s resolution specifically calls on Congress to “ensure any pending and future federal measures do not infringe on Americans’ civil rights and liberties.”

“There is no reason why we can’t keep America safe and free,” added Zachary L. Heiden, a staff attorney with the Maine Civil Liberties Union. “When the Patriot Act was passed, it went too far, too fast. Now Senator Collins has a chance to listen to the people of Maine and show that protecting

America doesn’t mean destroying what it means to be an American.”

A transcript of the Maine ad can be seen at:
/node/23082

To listen to the Maine radio ad, go to:
/node/23083

A transcript of the Connecticut ad can be seen at:
/node/23084

To listen to the Connecticut radio ad, go to:
/node/23085

Sign up to be the first to hear about how to take action.

Learn More About the Issues in This Press Release