ACLU Says President’s Patriot Act Push Again Ignores Americans' Concerns about Privacy, Calls on Congress to Resist Pressure and Protect Innocent Americans

December 10, 2005 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – Following President Bush’s call today for passage of legislation that would reauthorize the Patriot Act without correcting the most egregious parts of that law, the American Civil Liberties Union faulted the White House for failing to address the serious privacy issues that remain unfixed and urged lawmakers to resist White House pressure and reject the flawed reauthorization bill.

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

“The current bill pending before Congress isn’t a compromise; it’s a concession to White House pressure and a curtailment of the Constitution. The president omitted two key points in his radio address. First, the conference report was agreed to on a completely party line basis, not by all of the conferees as the president implied. Second, the conference report squanders precious resources by leaving the law open to abuse and fishing expeditions into the private records of innocent Americans instead of focusing on suspected terrorists. Modest, common sense reforms share strong bipartisan support and could easily be added to the secret record search powers, as called for by conscientious Americans across the political spectrum, from the middle to both the right and left.

“Let’s also be clear on one point that the president and others continue to make: the Patriot Act and its new powers did not ‘tear down the wall’ that separated law enforcement and intelligence authorities. The bipartisan 9/11 Commission found that internal bureaucratic practices, and not the law, stopped that cooperation. Like so much of the cheerleading about the Patriot Act, it’s misleading and insincere. The administration has failed to answer basic questions for the American people about how the secret record search powers that were dramatically expanded by the Patriot Act are being used–ignoring these controversial issues while touting parts of the Patriot Act that aren’t even in dispute. It’s classic sleight of hand.

“We applaud reasonable lawmakers – like Senators Feingold, Durbin, Salazar, Craig, Sununu and Murkowski – that have stood firm in their convictions to protect Americans’ freedoms and privacy. They recognize that the Constitution and its protections must remain strong, regardless of which party controls Congress or the White House. We hope that other lawmakers will join them in that fight to keep America both safe and free.”

To read the ACLU’s letter to Congress on the conference report, go to:

To see the ACLU’s chart on the conference report, go to:

To read the ACLU’s Interested Person’s Memo on the conference report, go to:

To read the ACLU’s summary of the Patriot Act conference report, go to:

For more on the ACLU’s concerns with the Patriot Act, go to:

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