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August 1, 1996

Honorable Newt Gingrich                         Senator Trent Lott
Speaker                                         Majority Leader
United States House of Representatives          United States Senate
2428 Rayburn House Office Bldg.                 487 Russell Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, D.C.  20515                         Washington, D.C.  20510

Honorable Richard A. Gephardt                  Senator Tom Daschle
Minority Leader                                Minority Leader
United States House of Representatives         United States Senate     
1226 Longworth House Office Building           509 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C.  20515                        Washington, D.C. 20510

Honorable Richard K. Armey
Majority Leader
United States House of Representatives
301 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C.   20515

Re: Call for Preservation of the People's Fourth Amendment and Privacy

Dear Senators Lott and Daschle and Representatives Gingrich, Gephardt and

     We represent a diverse group of organizations united in our profound
objections to a number of anti-civil liberties proposals being suggested as
a result of recent crimes presumed to be associated with terrorism.  Only a
few months ago, Congress passed sweeping anti-terrorism legislation under
pressure of the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing. Despite that
legislation, which many of us believe severely impacted freedom in the
United States, recent events have shown that we are no safer.  We ask that
Congress carefully weigh any new anti-terrorism legislation, and strip away
from it proposals that would erode civil liberties.

     We set forth below a description of the provisions to which we strongly
object because they would violate civil liberties and raise other
constitutional concerns. We also note that many of us strongly object to
other provisions of the anti-terrorism proposals not mentioned here.

Privacy and Proposed Investigations Without Evidence of Criminality

     We reject the proposition that law enforcement can investigate people
in the United States -- and compel disclosure of private information --
absent a reasonable indication of criminal activity.  The Fourth Amendment
requirement of probable cause of a crime is a bedrock principle of the
American system of justice.  Unless the government can demonstrate that it
has a criminal predicate -- evidenced by a court order or a grand jury
subpoena -- the government should not be given access to sensitive or
private information about individuals even if that information is maintained
by third parties.  Proposals which would require disclosure of travel and
phone records in counter-intelligence investigations should be rejected.

Proposed Expansions of Wiretapping and the Exclusionary Rule 
for Ill-Gotten Electronic Surveillance

     Wiretapping is an extremely invasive investigatory technique.  Congress
included safeguards in the present statutory scheme for law enforcement
wiretaps that, however inadequate, include specific requirements, explicit
oversight, and checks and balances to reduce violation of privacy and Fourth
Amendment rights that necessarily attend to law enforcement wiretaps.  See,
18 U.S.C. sections 2510-2522.  Wiretapping proposals in the contemplated
anti-terrorism measures signal a disturbing retreat from this protection,
especially in light of the fact that too many innocent conversations are
already picked up in law enforcement wiretaps. Therefore, provisions that
would expand law enforcement wiretapping powers and allow for courtroom use
of conversations illegally intercepted in a wiretap should be struck from
any proposed bill.

     Likewise, digital telephony funding should not be considered because
the FBI has not developed a plan that meets the requirements of the
Electronic Communications Privacy Act and ensures that privacy rights will
be protected.

          Any proposed legislation containing these provisions
should be rejected.  These provisions would work an unwarranted expansion of
federal law enforcement powers at the expense of civil liberties.


Tanya K. Metaksa                           Laura W. Murphy               
Executive Director                         Director
National Rifle Association                 American Civil Liberties Union 
Institute, Legislative Action

James J. Fotis                    Gerald H. Goldstein and William B. Moffitt        Executive Director                Immediate Past President  and 
Law Enforcement Alliance of       Legislative Chair; and Treasurer
America                           Natl. Assn. of Criminal Defense Lawyers 

Marc Rotenberg                              Joseph P. Tartaro
Director                                    President
Electronic Privacy Information Center       Second Amendment Foundation*

John M. Snyder and Alan M. Gottlieb         David B. Kopel
Director of Public Affairs; and             Research Director
     Chairman                               Independence Institute*
Citizens Committee for the Right to             
   Keep and Bear Arms

* Organization Listed for Identification Purposes Only.

American Civil Liberties Union
(202) 544-1681; (202) 546-0738 (f)

Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms
(202) 543-3363; (202) 546-2462 (f)

Electronic Privacy Information Center
(202) 544-9240; (202) 547-8388 (f)

David B. Kopel
(303) 279-6536; (303) 279-4176 (f)

Law Enforcement Alliance of America
(703) 847-COPS (2677); (703) 556-6485 (F)

National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
(202) 872-8688; (202) 331-8269 (f)

National Rifle Association    
Institute for Legislative Action
(703) 267-1144; (703) 267-3973 (f)

Joseph P. Tartaro
(716) 885-6408; (716) 884-4471 (f)