Flawed Patriot Act Conference Report Moves Forward; ACLU Calls on Fair-Minded Lawmakers to Stand for Privacy and Freedom

December 8, 2005 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – A group of Republican lawmakers today signed on to legislation to reauthorize portions of the Patriot Act, without making needed substantive corrections to the anti-terrorism law to protect the privacy of innocent Americans unconnected to suspected foreign terrorists. Bipartisan negotiators from both the House and Senate had been working to craft a compromise agreement that would incorporate better checks and balances into the legislation. The American Civil Liberties Union denounced the move, calling it a failure to protect law-abiding Americans and preserve our Bill of Rights.

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

“This sham compromise agreement fails to address the primary substantive concern raised by millions of Americans, as well as civil liberties, privacy and business organizations and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle and in both chambers. It is unfortunate that some would cave in to political pressure from the White House and reject common sense protections that were included in the unanimously supported Senate bill.

“If adopted, this reauthorization bill would continue to permit the FBI to access a huge array of extremely private records of innocent Americans without having to demonstrate a connection between the records sought and a suspected foreign terrorist or terrorist organization. A shorter sunset on a few controversial powers will not protect our privacy and does not redress in any way the FBI’s ability to use National Security Letters to pry into people’s private affairs, with no judicial oversight. We call on all fair-minded lawmakers to reject this hijacked legislation and stand firm against pressure from the administration to compromise on protections in our Bill of Rights.”

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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