ACTION ALERT: US Patriot Act

The Patriot Act, more than any other legislation, was created in the names those killed on September 11th and their families. Passed in haste only 45 days after the 9/11 attacks, it was scarcely read by the members of Congress who voted for it, and immediately drew concern and criticism from citizen groups, civil libertarians, librarians, and an array of conservatives.

In coming days and weeks, we will have an opportunity to correct the parts of the Patriot Act that infringe on liberties, while reaffirming the parts which actually contribute to our security. This email explains the current status of the Patriot Act and how we can contribute your views.

The Patriot Act will expire this December, 2005, if legislation is not enacted by then to extend it. This past week, legislation was introduced in the Senate that would not just extend the Patriot Act, but to broaden its powers. Worse still, the Senate Select Committeee on Intelligence has been discussing this new legislation in closed session, without public input or scrutiny.

Peaceful Tomorrows is working with the American Civil Liberties Union, which has made an excellent case for why the Patriot Act should be critically reviewed and reformed, rather than expanded. We will be focusing our Patriot Act campaign on members of both the Senate and House Judiciary Committees, which will ultimately move Patriot Act legislation to the floor.

Here’s how you can take action:

1. *Educate yourself*–and others–about the Patriot Act. See the linked documents for background:

  • ACLU press release from May 24, 2005 highlighting reasons why expansion of the Patriot Act should be opposed.
  • Letter from Peaceful Tomorrows to members of Congress expressing our opposition to expansion of the Patriot Act, instead calling for review and reform.
  • Information on the SAFE (Security And Freedom Enhancement) Act of 2005, which Arlen Spector (R-PA), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, originally sponsored; now endorsed by the ACLU.

Additional information can be found at the ACLU website www.aclu.org or on the website of "Patriots for Restoring Checks and Balances" http://www.checksbalances.org
 
2.* Meet With your Congressional representatives* – Congress is on recess from May 27th through June 6th. Nothing can be more effective than an in-district meeting with your Senator or Representative!

Let them know how you feel about the current Patriot Act and proposals for its expansion. The Patriot Act was passed in response to 9/11, so the views of 9/11 family members carry extra weight. Click here to find the names, phone numbers and fax numbers of all the members of both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees. If you live in the district or state of any of these members, it’s important that you contact them. Here’s how:

  • Call the members of Congress below, especially the Chairs and Ranking members of the committees, and express your views.
  • Meet with your representatives in person. You may have more success if you organize a visit that includes a small delegation (6-10) of your friends and neighbors.

Now is the time to take action! Please see the list below, and don’t hesitate to call the PT office if you have any questions or concerns.

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