Bill of Rights Defense Campaign

BILL OF RIGHTS Defense Committee - Working with communities to uphold the Bill of RightsWe the People
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November 16, 2005

PATRIOT Reauthorization Hijacked! Call and fax your congressional representatives now!

Extremists in Congress have hijacked the PATRIOT Act Reauthorization process. Behind closed doors, they crafted a draft PATRIOT Act Conference Report, shutting out other members of Congress. This is a serious breach of our open democracy, reminiscent of 2001, when the PATRIOT Act was written by the Department of Justice and shoved through Congress. We must make our voices heard in the halls of Congress and beyond!

Please demand that your Congressional representatives vote resoundingly NO on a Conference Report that expands the PATRIOT Act.

The current draft of the Conference Report, which is subject to change, constructs a facade of checks and balances, while stripping the courts of any significant oversight. Opportunities for the Department of Justice to monitor telephone and email activities of ordinary Americans, as well as to delve into financial, medical, library, school and other records without oversight are extended, and in some cases expanded. The Report also creates multiple new death penalties.

Call and fax your Congressional representatives today! Urge them to oppose these and other expansions of the PATRIOT Act. Look up their contact information.

Time is short: the House and Senate will vote on the Conference Report this week before leaving for a long Thanksgiving recess. Visit our web site,, for updates.

Sample talking points:

  • Nearly 400 communities and seven states have passed resolutions specifically calling upon Congress to protect the Bill of Rights from anti-terrorism laws and orders. Many national organizations representing millions of Americans have passed similar resolutions in response to the civil liberties invasions of the PATRIOT Act.
  • A recent Washington Post article alerted all of us to the fact that the Department of Justice has been using Section 505 to an extreme. At least 30,000 National Security Letters have been issued per year to obtain records of potentially millions of ordinary Americans. Even when found to be innocent of any terrorist activity, their records are kept in perpetuity.
  • Not only are records of ordinary Americans kept in perpetuity, but by Executive Order 13388, signed in October 2005, those records may be shared with local, state and tribal governments as well as with “private sector entities.”
  • Recently, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) obtained Freedom of Information Act documents from the FBI, revealing that the FBI has conducted clandestine surveillance on U.S. residents for months at a time, without proper paperwork or oversight.

For more information, see the 11/16 Associated Press article.