News Release

Major Civil Liberties Issues

News reports are shedding light on government surveillance of political activists.

The following are available to comment on various civil liberties issues:

JONATHAN TURLEY
The New York Times today published a story headlined “Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts.”

Turley is a professor of Constitutional law at George Washington University; he has worked at the National Security Agency. He said today: “FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court] was designed to circumvent the Fourth Amendment. As far as I know, it’s never turned down a surveillance request. For a president to circumvent FISA is substantially below the Constitutional standard.” Turley can also address the debate around the Patriot Act.
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FERNANDO GARCIA
Director of the Border Network for Human Rights based in El Paso, Texas, Garcia is currently in Washington, D.C. He can address concerns regarding civil and human rights in immigration policy.
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NANCY TALANIAN
Talanian is director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. She said today: “For four years, a growing number of U.S. residents nationwide have criticized the Patriot Act provisions that increase the executive branch’s surveillance powers without sufficient oversight to protect U.S. residents’ civil liberties. We applaud the Senate’s consideration of the Act’s deficiencies, which have prompted 400 state and local governments and many organizations to pass resolutions.”
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KIT GAGE
Gage is director of the First Amendment Foundation.

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JOHN SUGG
Sugg has covered the controversies around Sami Al-Arian, who was recently acquitted on terrorism charges, for more than a decade. The Washington Post recently described the trial as “a crucial test of government power under the USA Patriot Act.” Sugg said today: “The recently completed six-month trial of Sami Al-Arian is a classic statement about the clash of civil liberties against a government intent on limiting such freedoms. … Despite this humiliating defeat for the government — which spent tens of millions of dollars over more than a decade pursuing Al-Arian — the Palestinian academic is still held in jail.” Sugg is senior editor of the Weekly Planet/Creative Loafing group of newspapers. He began covering Al-Arian while he was an editor of the group’s Tampa paper.
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MARIE ZWICKER
Zwicker is an organizer with the counter-recruiting group Truth Project in Lake Worth, Florida. An NBC report recently revealed that the group’s November 2004 meeting at a Quaker Meeting House was described as a “threat” in Pentagon intelligence documents. Zwicker said today: “We work to tell the truth about Pentagon policies; an organization that tells the truth is a threat to illegitimate power.”
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ELIZABETH WRIGLEY-FIELD
A student at New York University and member of the national coordinating committee of the Campus Antiwar Network, Wrigley-Field helped organize a protest at NYU in February that was mentioned in the Pentagon intelligence papers.
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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