US poised to Re-Up The Patriot Act

11 June 2005 - 10:00pm

cartoons by Clay Bennett for the Christian Science Monitor

End thePatriot Act
by Linda Pascatore on 11 June 2005

The Patriot Act imposes great limitations on our personal civil liberties. The act was adopted in an rush after 9/11 to give the government the powers to fight terrorism. It was supposed to be a temporary measure, with a “sunset clause” that expires soon. It was only after it was adopted that congress and the public realized the full implications of the act. It severely limited civil liberties, and violates the constitutional guarantees of our Bill of Rights.

Now Bush is pushing to not only make the current Patriot Act permanent, but to further expand the act’s powers and encroach on our civil liberties. In a secret session of congress, provisions were approved. They would allow searches without prior approval by a judge, and seizure of our personal records from hospitals, libraries, hotels, banks, and other businesses. This illegal search and seizure would be allowed with no probable cause, on citizens who are not under any specific suspicion of criminal activity. Flawed provisions of the existing Patriot Act allows the government to break into your home and search it secretly, without even telling you after the fact.

Congress has been holding hearings on this subject, and votes are expected in late June or July. Write your congressional representatives to let them know you strongly oppose the flaws in the current Patriot Act, and the further expansion of the act. The following sample letter was included in the e-mail newsletter of the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union). For more detailed information on the Patriot Act, and the ACLU Keep America Safe and Free initiative, check out their website at:

Dear Senator/Representative,
As your constituent, I urge you to oppose expansion of the Patriot Act. The Patriot Act is an attack on fundamental American values. It needs to be reformed, not expanded.

People across the country have made clear their opposition to the Patriot Act. Hundreds of communities have passed resolutions against the Patriot Act and held town hall meetings to discuss its impact on their residents and our Constitution. Congress should not be tone-deaf to these serious concerns.

There are significant flaws in the Patriot Act, flaws that threaten our fundamental freedoms by giving the government the power to access to medical records, tax records, information about the books we buy or borrow without probable cause, and the power to break into our homes and conduct secret searches without telling us for weeks, months, or indefinitely.

Finally, I believe that the PATRIOT Act is an attack on fundamental American values and that it needs to be fixed. The Constitution and its Bill of Rights emphasize the need for checks and balances on government agents and limits to their power. I understand that the PATRIOT Act rolled back key judicial oversight and gave law enforcement significant new powers that go beyond the war on terrorism. Reforming this legislation would be an important step in bringing the PATRIOT Act back in line with American values.

Once again, I strongly urge you to oppose expansion of the PATRIOT Act.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this very important matter.

US House of Representatives: Hawaii, 1st District
Niel Abercrombie
Honolulu Office

Prince Kuhio Federal Building
300 Ala Moana Blvd.
Room 4-104
Honolulu, HI 96850
phone: (808) 541-2570 fax: (808) 533-0133 
 Washington Office
1502 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
phone: (202) 225-2726 fax: (202) 225-4580

US House of Representatives: Hawaii, 2nd District
Ed Case
Honolulu Office
5104 Prince Kuhio Federal Bldg
Honolulu HI 96850
Phone: 808-541-1986
Fax: 808-538-0233

Washington DC Office
128 Cannon HOB
Washington DC 20515
Phone: 202-225-4906
Fax: 202-225-4987

US Senator from Hawaii:
Senator Daniel Akaka
Honolulu Office
Prince Kuhio Federal Building
300 Ala Moana Blvd., Rm. 3-106
Box 50144
 Washington Office
Honolulu, HI 96850
141 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-6361

US Senator from Hawaii:
Senator Daniel Inouye
Honolulu Office
Prince Kuhio Federal Building
300 Ala Moana Blvd., Rm. 7-212
Honolulu HI 96850
Washington Office
722 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-3934

Click here to send email to all those listed above.