Sunday, October 4, 2009

Patriot Act needs revision NOW to protect the rights of honest citizens of the U.S.

On top of the huge changes on health care, climate change, and immigration reform going on, Congress will also need to address those patriot act issues still in place from the Bush admin. Two bills about this are on the Congressional docket, and need to be monitored by citizens.

Please read this good information from the National Library Association. You recall that it was the librarians who were on the front lines in defense of civil liberties then. They continue to keep an eagle eye on how changes to the patriot act unfold.

They're sending us a request to write our legislators on these issues. What a great OMNI folk project... books are pretty important to us. I personally felt very grateful to the librarians who put their jobs on the line to say "no" to surveillance of patrons by NSA and others.

Thanks Nancy for passing this along.
Gladys Tiffany
OMNI Center for Peace, Justice & Ecology
Fayetteville, Arkansas USA
479-973-9049 --

--- On Wed, 9/30/09, Nancy Goliff :
Subject: USA Patriot Act Reforms

From a CA librarian friend. Please contact our Senators about this. -- N.

This is very important to libraries that library records remain confidential except for a court order showing reason why the records need to be released. This is guaranteed by California State law, but the federal Patriot Act Section 215 trumps State law. The federal law does not even allow a library director to tell his or her boss or to consult an attorney before or after releasing all records.

More Info

September 30, 2009

It is critical that library supporters from states with senators on the Judiciary Committee call them as soon as possible urging reforms to Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act and laws covering national security letters. The Senate switchboard number is: (202) 224-3121
There are two USA PATRIOT Act reform bills pending before the Senate Judiciary Committee at this time. The Committee has scheduled a work session or "markup" of S. 1696, the USA PATRIOT Act Sunset Extension Act originally introduced on September 17th by Judiciary Chairman Leahy and Sens. Cardin and Kaufman. This bill respects constitutional rights by increasing judicial review of the use of surveillance authorities that sweep in U.S. citizens. The bill also expands public reporting to ensure that Americans can monitor the use of these authorities.
[ Leahy statement: ]
Congress should pass the USA PATRIOT Act Sunset Extension Act of 2009, S. 1692, with key amendments to protect civil liberties based upon S. 1686, the Judicious Use of Surveillance Tools in Counterterrorism Efforts (JUSTICE) Act, and,
Congress should also consider reforms of national security letters (NSLs) now as legislation on reform and reauthorization of Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act moves forward.
The library community thanks Senator Leahy and the bills's other sponsors, Senators Cardin (MD-D) , Kaufman (DE-D) and Sanders (VT-I) for introducing legislation that makes many needed reforms to Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act;
However, library advocates urge the Judiciary Committee to consider amendments to S. 1692, based upon provisions in S. 1686, the Judicious Use of Surveillance Tools in Counterterrorism Efforts (JUSTICE) Act;
Intensify oversight of the Section 215 and National Security Letters provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act and other laws that limit the privacy rights of library users, library employees and the general public, including annual reports by the Department of Justice's Inspector General.
Guarantee a recipient the right to consult an attorney, the right to challenge any gag order and due process at the time a Section 215 order or an NSL is served on the recipient;
Require the FBI to provide sufficient facts to demonstrate that a gag order is necessary to protect national security; if authorized, the gag order should automatically expire at the end of six months unless the FBI shows good cause to extend the gag order.
Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee
Patrick J. Leahy, Chairman, D-Vermont
Herb Kohl, D-Wisconsin
Jeff Sessions, Ranking Member, R-Alabama
Dianne Feinstein, D-California
Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah
Russell D. Feingold, D-Wisconsin
Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa
Charles E. Schumer, D-New York
Jon Kyl, R-Arizona
Richard J. Durbin, D-Illinois
Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina
Benjamin L. Cardin, D-Maryland
John Cornyn, R-Texas
Sheldon Whitehouse, D-Rhode Island
Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma
Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota
Edward E. Kaufman, D-Delaware
Arlen Specter, D-Pennsylvania
Al Franken, D-Minnesota
[For additional background information go to ALA's recent "District Dispatch" on USA PATRIOT Act reforms at:]
Full bill text for S. 1692 is at:
Full bill text for 1686 is at:

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