ACLU Says White House Usurps Patriot Act Reauthorization Process, Negotiators Neglect Privacy and Civil Liberties Concerns but Add Poison Pills
WASHINGTON - A conference committee tasked to reconcile differences between House and Senate Patriot Act bills ignored bipartisan calls to restore checks and balances on government power and protect privacy and civil liberties, the American Civil Liberties Union said today. The Republican-led conferees also attached several "poison pill" measures to the must-pass legislation, unrelated to the 2001 anti-terrorism law. The House and Senate are expected to vote on the bill this week.
The following can be attributed to Lisa Graves, ACLU Senior Counsel for Legislative Strategy:
"The Patriot Act was bad in 2001, and despite bipartisan calls for reform, it's still bad in 2005. Instead of addressing the real concerns that millions of Americans have about the Patriot Act, the Republican majority in Congress buckled to White House pressure, stripping the bill of modest yet meaningful reforms. Congress must reject this bill.
"Don't be fooled by some lawmakers spinning this bill as Patriot Act reform. It’s anything but. Lawmakers have let the administration take us from bad to worse. There's a reason why groups like the Chamber of Commerce, American Conservative Union and American Library Association have all come together for Patriot Act reform. The question is: Why haven’t lawmakers listened?"