ACLU Releases First Definitive Run-Down on Government's "Insatiable Appetite" for New Powers and Resulting Erosion of Liberty

May 28, 2002 12:00 am

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ACLU Releases First Definitive Run-Down on Government’s “Insatiable Appetite” for New Powers and Resulting Erosion of Liberty


WASHINGTON – The American Civil Liberties Union today released the first definitive run-down on the panoply of new powers that the government has granted itself since September 11, saying that the bulk of these new powers do little to make us safer, yet substantially erode core civil liberties in America.

“There is no proof that the incessant seizure of new powers by Congress and the Bush Administration does anything to increase safety,” said Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU’s Washington National Office. “This report is an attempt to set the record straight and detail just how extensive this erosion of basic liberty in America has been.”

The report -“Insatiable Appetite: The Government’s Demand for New and Unnecessary Powers After September 11” — runs the gamut of controversial issues that have cropped up in Washington and across the country since the tragic attacks last fall.

It covers, among many other things, the Administration’s ongoing stonewall approach to questions about the hundreds of 9-11 detainees still being held in facilities nationwide; the newfound impetus behind national ID proposals on Capitol Hill; the passage of the USA PATRIOT Act and its implementation; and the potential for a government crackdown on legitimate political dissent created by a number of different bills and executive regulations.

Also covered in the report are the numerous lawsuits filed by the ACLU in light of the Department of Justice’s treatment of the 9-11 detainees. These include, among others, the Michigan federal case seeking a repeal of Attorney General John Ashcroft and Chief Immigration Judge Michael Creppy’s order closing all immigration hearings to the media and public, and the New Jersey case filed under the state’s freedom of information laws requesting key pieces of information about the more than 300 young men still detained in the Garden State.

“Criticism of these new and unnecessary powers has been astoundingly diverse, cutting across the ideological divide,” Murphy said. “America stands at a prominent cross-roads; we can either continue to erode freedom or we can accept the reality that safety and liberty are not mutually exclusive and can co-exist. Hopefully this report will shed additional light on which path not to take.”

“Insatiable Appetite” can be found online at:

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