FC: Groups write Congress to question new FBI surveillance rules

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Tue Jun 04 2002 - 18:57:15 PDT

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    Date: Tue, 4 Jun 2002 11:52:46 -0400
    To: declanat_private
    From: Marc Rotenberg <rotenbergat_private>
    Subject: IDOF Letters on AG Guidelines
    Thanks for your help yesterday. Before you take off,
    could you please post the following to your list?
    A similar letter went to Leahy and Hatch. Both are
    online at indefenseoffreedom.org
    IDOF Letter, June 2002 Attorney General Guidelines
    June 4, 2002
    Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr.
    U.S. House of Representatives
    Committee on the Judiciary
    2138 Rayburn HOB, Washington, DC 20515
    Representative John Conyers
    U.S. House of Representatives
    Committee on the Judiciary
    2138 Rayburn HOB, Washington, DC 20515
    Dear Chairman Sensenbrenner and Representative Conyers:
    We write to you on behalf of a broad range of organizations across
    the country about the decision of the Attorney General to loosen the
    guidelines that restrict the surveillance of religious and political
    organizations in the United States. This decision raises matters of
    Constitutional authority that require immediate Congressional
    attention. We do not believe that the Attorney General has the legal
    authority to pursue domestic spying. We urge you to conduct
    oversight hearings on the new guidelines.
    We are particularly concerned about elements of the guidelines that
    appear to give the FBI the authority to search through electronic
    databases without satisfying any legal standard or requiring any
    judicial review. Such an approach to police authority in the United
    States is directly contrary to the First and Fourth Amendment and
    the system of checks and balances established by our form of
    We are also concerned that the changes authorize unchecked
    surveillance of lawful religious and political activity, and that
    such surveillance will be targeted against Arab- Americans, Muslim
    and immigrants among others.
    We urge you to convene a public hearing with the Attorney General so
    that the following issues may be addressed:
    	- How will the changes proposed by the Attorney General impact
    	the First Amendment freedoms of political and religious
    	organizations in the United States?
    	- What is the legal basis for the Attorney General's decision
    	and how does this decision compare with his current authority?
    	- What means of Congressional oversight will be created to
    	prevent abuse and what means of public reporting will be
    	established to ensure that the public is fully informed about
    	these activities?
    	- For what period of time does the Attorney General anticipate
    	the FBI will operate with this authority?
    We would be pleased to work with you and your staff on this
    important matter.
    Marc Rotenberg
    Executive Director
    Electronic Privacy Information Center
    Nan Aron
    Alliance for Justice
    Kareem Shora
    Legal Advisor
    American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)
    Laura W. Murpphy
    Director Washington Office
    American Civil Liberties Union
    Paula Johnson
    American Law Teachers
    Emily Sheketoff, Executive Director
    American Library Association Washington Office
    Tom DeWeese
    American Policy Center
    Amy Isaacs
    National Director, Americans for Democratic Action
    Majed Jafari
    Director, Government Relations
    Arab American Institute
    Margaret Fung
    Executive Director
    Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund
    Kent Pollock
    Executive Director
    California First Amendment Coalition
    Nancy Chang
    Staff Attorney
    Center for Constitutional Rights
    James X. Dempsey
    Deputy Director
    Center for Democracy and Technology
    Jeff Chester
    Executive Director
    Center for Digital Democracy
    Kate Martin
    Center for National Security Studies
    Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney
    Christian Defense Coalition
    Ken McEldowney
    Executive Director
    Consumer Action
    Jason Erb
    Director, Governmental Relations
    Council on American-Islamic Relations
    Lee Tien
    Senior Staff Attorney
    Electronic Frontier Foundation
    Steven Aftergood
    Project Director
    Federation of American Scientists
    Kit Gage
    First Amendment Foundation and NCARL
    Florence C. Kimball
    Legislative Education Secretary
    Friends Committee on National Legislation
    David J. Theroux
    Founder and President
    The Independent Institute
    Mark Graham
    Institute for Global Communication
    Elisa Massimino
    Director, Washington office
    Lawyers Committee for Human Rights
    J. Daryl Byler, Director
    Mennonite Central Committee U.S., Washington Office
    James Landrith
    Editor & Publisher
    The Multiracial Activist
    Julian Bond
    Kit Gage
    National Coordinator
    National Coalition to Protect Political Freedom
    Heidi Boghosian
    National Lawyers Guild
    Dan Kesselbrenner
    National Immigration Project
    National Lawyers Guild
    Audrie Krause
    Morton H. Halperin
    Open Society Policy Center
    Ralph G. Neas
    People For the American Way
    Deborah Pierce
    Executive Director
    Beth Givens
    Executive Director
    Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
    [through June 3, 2002]
    Marc Rotenberg, exec director          +     +1 202 483 1140 (tel)
    Electronic Privacy Information Center  +     +1 202 483 1248 (fax)
    1718 Connecticut Ave NW Suite 200      +        rotenbergat_private
    Washington DC 20009  USA               +       http://www.epic.org
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