News Release

PATRIOT Act Under Scrutiny

Congress has begun a series of hearings on the PATRIOT Act. The following critics of the Act are available for interviews:

KIT GAGE
Gage is director of the First Amendment Foundation. She said today: “We applaud the conversation now taking place in the Congress regarding both the PATRIOT Act and many non-legislative changes enacted since 9/11, under the mantle of reauthorization of portions of the PATRIOT Act. While a very few provisions of the PATRIOT Act will disappear unless passed again this year, the entire array of changes should be evaluated this year -­ for effectiveness and constitutionality. We believe there have been major First Amendment, due process, and privacy abuses (and the courts have been in some agreement as well). The creation of Guantanamo and of an entity called ‘enemy combatants’ has bypassed the entire criminal justice system and international legal and treaty frameworks under which the U.S. has functioned for two centuries. It’s time the Congress stood up and rectified these abuses, which largely bypassed its authorization, and reinstated a constitutional process and proper checks and balances that are its responsibility.”

GREG NOJEIM
Nojeim is associate director and chief legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington legislative office. He said today: “Yesterday, the Attorney General admitted that some of the most problematic provisions of the PATRIOT Act are being used more and more, and that the PATRIOT Act was abused to search the home of Brandon Mayfield, the Portland, Oregon attorney wrongly detained in connection with the Madrid train bombings. It is time for Congress to act to bring the PATRIOT Act into line with the Constitution.” The ACLU has recently joined with other groups including the American Conservative Union working on the PATRIOT Act and related civil liberties issues.
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NANCY TALANIAN
Director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Talanian said today: “Attorney General Gonzales arrived at the Senate Judiciary Committee’s first hearing on the PATRIOT Act equipped with a proposal to amend two sections of the Act, and prepared for the Senators’ questions that extended to areas of justice beyond the Act. Finally, Washington, D.C., is engaging in a debate that has been raging in town halls and living rooms nationwide for three and a half years. I credit the five state legislatures and more than 370 local governments that have enacted resolutions upholding civil liberties for helping to force this debate.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167