ACTION ALERT: Keep Patriot Act review public!

May 19th, 2005

The Senate Intelligence Committee announced yesterday that it has scheduled a “mark up” of PATRIOT Act reauthorization legislation for Thursday, May 19. The committee will consider legislation that would reauthorize the sunsets, as well as several amendments. The hearing, however, is set to take place behind closed doors.

Amidst widespread opposition to laws and policies that threaten civil liberties, PATRIOT Act proponents in Congress want to once again lock the American public out of the debate in order to pass damaging legislation.

Don’t let them keep the public in the dark! Demand an open, honest debate about the PATRIOT Act and other antiterrorism measures that affect your civil liberties.

If one of your Senators is on the Intelligence Committee (see list below), please call your Senator today and urge him or her to open Thursday’s hearing. If you do not live in one of these states, ask your own Senators to demand that the Intelligence Committee open its hearing. Look up your Senators’ phone numbers at:

Senate Committee on Intelligence

Pat Roberts (KS), Chair, 202-224-4774
Orrin Hatch (UT), 202-224-5251
Mike DeWine (OH), 202-224-2315
Christopher Bond (MO), 202-224-5721
Trent Lott (MS), 202-224-6253
Olympia Snowe (ME), 202-224-5344
Chuck Hagel (NE), 202-224-4224
Saxby Chambliss (GA), 202-224-3521
John Warner (VA), 202-224-2023

John Rockefeller (WV), 202-224-6472
Carl Levin (MI), 202-224-6221
Dianne Feinstein (CA), 202-224-3841
Ron Wyden (OR), 202-224-5244
Evan Bayh (IN), 202-224-5623
Barbara Mikulski (MD), 202-224-4654
Jon Corzine (NJ), 202-224-4744

*Many thanks to the American Library Association for compiling this information.

Bill of Rights Defense Committee

Senate Committee to Review Controversial Patriot Act Legislation in Secret; Draft Legislation Hidden from Public

Tuesday May 17, 2005

Contact: Will Potter
(202) 675-2312

WASHINGTON – The Senate Intelligence Committee announced today that it is rushing forward with a markup of Patriot Act reauthorization legislation Thursday, but that the session will be behind closed doors.

Some of the most extreme parts of the Patriot Act are set to sunset, or expire, at the end of this year unless Congress reauthorizes them. When lawmakers passed the Patriot Act just 45 days after 9/11, they included these sunsets because they knew that some provisions shouldn’t be made permanent. The committee will be reviewing legislation involving the sunsets and other key parts of the Patriot Act that impact civil liberties.

Members of Congress have until the end of the year to review and modify the Patriot Act, but some lawmakers hope to steamroll the entire process through Congress in the next few weeks. This closed-door markup is an indication that some in Congress are trying to rush through legislation, and keep the public in the dark.

“One reason that people across the political spectrum are concerned about the Patriot Act is that so much of it is shrouded in secrecy. Many provisions are implemented secretly, and the government has kept secret key information on how it is being used. Now, lawmakers are trying to keep legislation to reauthorize the Patriot Act secret as well.

“Nearly 400 communities, included seven states, have passed resolutions calling on lawmakers to bring the Patriot Act in line with the Constitution. Instead of addressing these legitimate concerns, and reviewing the act in daylight, some in Congress would rather hide behind closed doors away from public scrutiny. The Patriot Act has been the subject of heated debates in recent months-in Congress, in the media, and in households around the country. There is no good reason for the mark-up and vote on this public law to be kept secret from the public.”

For more information:

Filed in: Immigration & Civil Liberties

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