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     Jack King
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     Coalition Protests Dangerous Anti-Terrorism Proposals:
     Calls for Preservation of Citizens' Fourth Amendment and Privacy 
     `Who Will Guard the Guards?'
        Washington, D.C., August 1, 1996 -- A broad coalition of 
     organizations today called on Congress to reject renewed  
     "counter-terrorism" proposals which would take away Americans' rights 
     while giving dangerous new powers to federal law enforcement agencies.
        The letter was drafted and signed by Gerald H. Goldstein and 
     William B. Moffitt, the Immediate Past President and Treasurer of the 
     National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL),  Tanya K. 
     Metaksa, Executive Director, National Rifle Association; Laura W. 
     Murphy, Director of the Washington office of the American Civil 
     Liberties Union; Marc Rotenberg, Director of the Electronic Privacy 
     Information Center; James J. Fotis, Executive Director of the Law 
     Enforcement Alliance of America; Alan M. Gottlieb and John M. Snyder, 
     Chairman and Public Affairs Director, the Citizens Committee for the 
     Right to Keep and Bear Arms; among others.
        The White House/Congress "Terrorism Task Force" is considering a 
     number of alarming and sweeping new powers for federal agents, who 
     repeatedly show flagrant disregard for the rights of American citizens 
     as amply documented in Congressional reports on the Waco and Ruby 
     Ridge operations.  Among the "anti-terrorism" -- in reality, 
     "anti-American" -- proposals requested by the White House, and which 
     the coalition protests include:
         Expansion of multi-point ("roving") wiretap powers, in 
     which federal agents may tap any telephone a surveillance subject 
     might use, even telephones of friends, family, business associates and 
     business establishments not suspected of any crime.
         Authorization for federal agents to tap telephones for up 
     to 48 hours without a court order.
         Authorization for federal agents to routinely collect 
     business records such as telephone records, hotel registrations, car 
     rentals, and more, on individuals without a subpoena from a grand 
     jury, nor even a reasonable indication of criminal behavior.
        Government eavesdropping had become so much of a problem by the 
     1960s that Congress  specifically outlined when, where, and how 
     federal agents must conduct wiretap activity, in Title III of the 
     Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act (18 U.S.C. 2510-2522).  
     Other kinds of electronic surveillance, such as interception of faxes 
     and electronic mail, were addressed by Congress in the Electronic 
     Communication Privacy Act (18 U.S.C. 2510-2522, as amended in 1986).  
     The legislation being contemplated would undo these statutory 
     protections which carefully balance the government's need to know with 
     the individual's right to privacy, through the checks and balances of 
     neutral judicial oversight.
        "Wiretapping proposals in the contemplated anti-terrorism 
     legislation 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," the coalition said 
     in its letter.
        The coalition strongly urges Congress to reject these provisions.  
     "These provisions would work an unwarranted expansion of federal law 
     enforcement powers at the expense of civil liberties," the coalition's 
     signers warned.  That is why, in response to the clear will of  the 
     people, these same proposals were rejected by Congress just last 
        Neither of the two recent incidents which prompted the resurrection 
     of these proposals has been shown to be an act of terrorism.  Nor can 
     it be shown that any of these measures would have prevented either of 
     these events if they were.
        If  Congress surrenders Americans' fundamental  liberties to 
     federal law enforcement agencies which have demonstrated excessive and 
     abusive disregard for the Bill of Rights time and time again, we 
     wonder, as Juvenal did two thousand years ago, Sed quis custodiet 
     ipsos custodes? -- "Who will guard the guards?"
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