ACLU Outraged At Attorney General’s False Testimony

July 10, 2007 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – The American Civil Liberties Union expressed its outrage that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales lied to Congress in order to make a case for reauthorization of the Patriot Act in 2005. The Attorney General testified that he was unaware of any civil liberties abuses that had taken place with the use of NSLs, which allow FBI agents to request records without court approval. But contrary to Gonzales’ testimony internal FBI documents show he was well aware of the abuses. The documents were received through a freedom of information request from the Electronic Frontier Foundation. He and other members of the administration went on to testify that no abuses of the Patriot Act had ever occurred before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in April of 2005.

The following may be attributed to Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:

“Congress has been hoodwinked by the Attorney General and it’s time for consequences. From the US Attorney scandal to warrantless wiretapping, this administration has misled the American people time and again. We know now that Mr. Gonzales provided false testimony in order to build a case for reauthorization of the Patriot Act. It is now apparent that Congress and the public simply cannot afford to take anything this administration says about the war on terror at face value.

“Evidently, the Attorney General has shrugged off any obligation he has to protecting the rights of Americans and his brazen attitude has seeped into the Department of Justice he heads. There is a pervasive and systemic problem within the Justice Department and pinning Mr. Gonzales as the fall guy will not solve it. Cutting off the head will not kill this beast.

“No government should have these broad powers in the first place and it has become painfully obvious that our government cannot be trusted to police itself. This administration seems to think that the end justifies the means and when it comes to the means, it’s anything goes. Without Mr. Gonzales’ false testimony, the Patriot Act may not have been authorized in its current form. Now, more than ever, is the time to reopen and re-examine the Patriot Act.”

In a related development, Congress has asked the administration for information on the domestic spying program nine times, and has now issued subpoenas to the administration. The White House must comply by July 18 at 2 p.m. For updates visit

To learn more about the ACLU’s work around NSLs, go to:

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