Howard Dean and Colorado Governor Bill Owens Debate Civil Liberties and the War on Terror at the

July 8, 2004 12:00 am

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


SAN FRANCISCO- At the American Civil Liberties Union’s Annual Membership Conference today, Colorado Governor Bill Owens will debate former presidential candidate and governor of Vermont Howard Dean on civil liberties and the war on terrorism, an issue that will be prominent this election season.

Gov. Dean, who is the founder and honorary chair of Democracy for America, has urged Congress to reconsider aspects of the Patriot Act and other anti-terror initiatives that give the government overly broad investigative and surveillance powers.

“After September 11, the Ashcroft Justice Department took advantage of the climate of fear and adopted a series of anti-terror tactics that go far beyond protecting our country and erode the rights of average Americans,” said Gov. Dean. “We should be rolling these back, but instead Attorney General Ashcroft is trying to build on them with his ‘Victory Act’ proposal. He must not be allowed to compromise our freedoms any further.””

Gov. Owens, who was the chairman of the Republican Governors Association for the 2003 election year, said that the attacks of September 11th have presented an unprecedented challenge to national security.

“”We need to make sure that our law enforcement agencies have the means to combat these new threats to our nation,”” said Gov. Owens. “”We must give law enforcement the ability, within the protections guaranteed by our Constitution, to prevent terrorist acts and prosecute fully those who commit them. I believe the Patriot Act strikes the right balance needed to protect our freedom and security.””

The ACLU said that they selected Governors Dean and Owens for the debate because of their roles as leaders in their respective political parties. The National Review has called Gov. Owens “”the best governor in America”” and Dean’s ability to raise funds and organize grassroots support using the Internet during his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination was unprecedented and is expected to have a permanent impact on American politics.

All plenary sessions and keynote addresses, including the debate, will be webcast live at

For more information on the ACLU’s conference proceedings and activities, go to /2004memberconf

Every month, you'll receive regular roundups of the most important civil rights and civil liberties developments. Remember: a well-informed citizenry is the best defense against tyranny.