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ACLU slams Republican "conference report" to expand Patriot Act (3/4)

ACLU slams Republican "conference report" to expand Patriot Act (3/4)
ACLU slams Republican "conference report" to expand Patriot Act (3/4)

Previous Politech message: 

Text of conference report: 


ACLU Condemns Hidden Provision that Would Impede Freedom of Speech,
Patriot Act Reauthorization Bill Would Empower Secret Service as Censors

Monday, December 12, 2005

Contact: Shin Inouye
(202) 675-2312	

WASHINGTON - The American Civil Liberties Union today denounced a 
provision contained within legislation created to reauthorize the 
Patriot Act that would make major changes to the criminal statutes 
administered by the Secret Service and could seriously damage the free 
speech rights of all Americans.  The controversial provision has not had 
any Congressional review or hearings.

The following can be attributed to Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the 
ACLU Washington Legislative Office:

"If this provision is adopted, our precious First Amendment would be 
significantly curtailed.  The Secret Service already has broad authority 
to stifle dissent at events where high-ranking public officials appear. 
  This little-noticed provision, contained in legislation meant to 
reauthorize the Patriot Act, would give the Secret Service effective 
power to enact 'exclusion zones' even without the attendance of the 
president or other Secret Service protectee.

"Imagine, in the future, a pro-choice president is set to speak at a 
conference, which the Secret Service declares as an 'event of national 
significance.'  If the bill passes, the Secret Service could shut down 
areas throughout the conference and arrest any pro-life protester who 
violates the zone for a felony.  This could happen even at times when 
the president is not speaking.

"Congress has not had ample time to consider this attack on the First 
Amendment.  While there remains much to do on the Patriot Act powers 
themselves, lawmakers must reject this assault on the right to dissent."

To read the ACLU's letter to the Senate on this provision, go to:

  To read the ACLU's letter to the House on this provision, go to:

For more on the ACLU's concerns with the Patriot Act, go to:

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