News Release

Civil Liberties at Home: “Enduring Freedom”?

CHRISTOPHER SIMPSON
Professor of Communications at American University and author of the books Blowback, Science of Coercion and National Security Directives of the Reagan and Bush Administrations, Simpson said today: “The administration’s scapegoating of the U.S. Congress for supposedly leaking information is a good example of how extreme the administration’ secrecy policies are. The allegedly leaked information — a warning that terrorist retaliation could be expected following the current bombing of Afghanistan — was not really secret in any case. The Bush administration is setting about to dismantle 25 years of constitutional law that provides that the peoples’ records are in fact open to the people.”

STEVEN AFTERGOOD
Director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, Aftergood said today: “The administration’s stance on information reflects a disturbing administration indifference to congressional oversight and public accountability. It’s part of a pattern of expanding official secrecy. Secrecy is always a temptation — it minimizes controversy and undercuts political opposition.”
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JEANNE BUTTERFIELD
Executive director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Butterfield said today: “The current counter-terrorism legislation … contains several elements that are susceptible to possible overreaching, and powers that if abused could snare innocent victims in its widely-flung net.”
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DAVID COLE
Professor of law at the Georgetown University Law Center, Cole said today: “The proposed legislation violates core constitutional principles. In addition to imposing guilt by association, a philosophy the Supreme Court has condemned as ‘alien to the traditions of a free society and the First Amendment itself,’ the legislation creates patently unconstitutional detention authority. Preventive detention, the Supreme Court has ruled, is permissible only where accompanied by heightened procedural safeguards and limited to those who truly pose a current danger. Yet the bills’ mandatory detention provisions would subject immigrants accused of nothing more than a barroom brawl to potentially indefinite detention, without any showing that they pose a current danger to others or risk of flight, and without any administrative procedures for challenging their detention.”

JIM DEMPSEY
Dempsey, deputy director of the Center for Democracy and Technology, is knowledgeable about electronic surveillance and other aspects of the pending legislation.
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167