ACLU Action Alert: Oppose Expanded Government Secrecy!

Despite nearly unanimous statements in the
hours and days after the tragic [09.11.01 World
Trade Center] attacks, insisting that these
tragedies not be used to diminish liberty, the
Administration and Congress are rushing to change
our nation’s laws.

As the nation grieves the loss of life and works
to come to terms with the implications of the
joint attacks against the World Trade Center and
the Pentagon, members of Congress are faced with
the daunting question of where do we go from here.


Despite nearly unanimous statements in the
hours and days after the tragic attacks,
insisting that these tragedies not be used to
diminish liberty, the Administration and
Congress are rushing to change our nation’s
laws.

Attorney General Ashcroft, for example, has
asked Congress to adopt far reaching legislation
that would include provisions to vastly expand
federal law enforcement authority without
demonstrating how such laws would make us safer.

Further, he asked Congress to pass this bill
three days after it was unveiled and Senate
Majority Leader Daschle said it could be done.

Similarly, the Senate adopted new wiretapping
measures in the middle of the night last week with
little debate.


In the United States we subject public policy proposals to extensive debate and scrutiny. Despite the call for restraint made by our national leaders, members of Congress are threatening to pass legislation without adequate evaluation.

We must now urge our lawmakers to be thoughtful and thorough in their consideration of legislative proposals designed to respond to and prevent terrorist attacks.


Take Action!


* When the government acts in haste and fear,
it can take steps that do not protect our
safety, but instead lead to the long-term loss of
liberty for all Americans.


The
fundamental decisions that Congress is on the
verge of making will determine how our democracy
functions in the years ahead. Members of
Congress must weigh carefully what an expansion of
government authority really means for the
safety, privacy and freedom of all Americans.


* Congress must not allow the guarantees of
the Bill of Rights to become the next victims of
terrorism.

Liberty and safety are not
mutually exclusive. It is important to recognize
that the terrorist attacks in New York and
Washington should prompt a re-examination of the
ability of law enforcement to protect against
terrorists. However, this re-examination should be
conducted carefully, and any new proposals
should be narrowly focused on the problems they
purport to address.


* Legislative proposals must be allowed to see the
light of day.


Members of Congress serve as the people’s representatives.

As such, they must make their action accessible to public debate, scrutiny and comment. When lawmakers pass legislation in the wee hours of the night it eliminates the ability of the public to provide
feedback and ultimately causes a loss of faith in the legislative process.


TAKE ACTION!

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at: http://www.aclu.org/action/liberty107.html

Author: The American Civil Liberties Union

News Service: ACLU Action Alert

URL: http://www.aclu.org/action/liberty107.html