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Conyers Opposes Patriot Conference Report

Press Release

Congressman John Conyers, Jr.
Michigan, 14th District

Ranking Member, U.S. House Judiciary Committee
Dean, Congressional Black Caucus


For Immediate Release:

Conyers Opposes Patriot Conference Report

Ignores Concerns of Civil Libertarians, Religious Groups and Majority of Congress

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman John Conyers, Jr. issued the following statement regarding the Patriot Act Conference Report:

"I am disappointed to say that instead of passing a bipartisan and a reasonable effort at reform, this Conference reported back language that does not contain even moderate changes that would have made the PATRIOT Act respect civil liberties and constitutionally sound.

Yesterday, the House Democratic Conferees made one formal request: that the government show some connection to a terrorist before delving into our citizens' most personal records and possessions. It was flatly ignored. Politics won out over civil liberties. The White House won out over the Senate, the House, Democrats and Republicans. I simply cannot sign this report.

Despite what some may tell you, under this report, a person could still:

* Receive secret intelligence orders for any tangible thing, including library or medical records, if the government can show only "relevance" to terrorism. The target DOES NOT have to be suspected of any wrongdoing.
* Be permanently gagged even after he's turned over his most personal information;

* Have his home searched and not find out for a month, or even longer - all for the convenience of law enforcement;

* Expect his personal data to sit in databases indefinitely, including his financial and medical insurance records;

* Be sent to prison for telling someone he received a secret order to turn over information and not getting the Justice Department's permission first.

This report ignores the concerns of civil libertarians - both left and right, religious organizations, business groups, librarians, prosecutors and defenders, and a majority of the House and the Senate."

##JUD-109-12/8/05##

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