The civil liberties of Americans are under serious, specific threat – from the Patriot Act and other parts of the Executive Branch’s efforts to expand its reach without regard to the limits that the Bill of Rights placed on government power. That was the message that U.S. Representative Barbara Lee offered yesterday, in the wake of the approval, by the House and Senate, of an extension of the powers of the Patriot Act for four years, without any reforms.
Representative Lee said:
“We should balance our national security with protection of our civil liberties, but the PATRIOT Act does not achieve that necessary balance. I opposed the extension of the PATRIOT Act because we cannot sacrifice fundamental freedoms, including the right to privacy, in our effort to manage the threat of terrorism. Our basic civil liberties, which include access to our library records, medical records, and personal information about private residences and businesses, are not safe from the PATRIOT Act.
“I will continue to push for an end to invasive intelligence gathering tactics that come at the expense of vital civil liberties, many of which have been justified by the overly broad executive branch authorization I opposed in the wake of 9/11.”