PRESS RELEASE

Congressman Capuano Protests Attorney General's Defense of USA Patriot Act

September 9, 2003 -- Today Congressman Mike Capuano joined others concerned with protecting our civil liberties at a Faneuil Hall rally protestiing Attorney General John Ashcroft's defense of the controversial "USA PATRIOT Act".

"Now that the Attorney General's propaganda campaign promoting the PATRIOT Act has arrived in Boston, it is more important than ever to highlight the shortcomings of this legislation. Simply put, the PATRIOT Act severely diminishes our civil rights - the very principles upon which our country was founded. It allows investigators to track a person's e-mail without a search warrant and conduct property searches without contacting the owner. It is time to let this misguided legislation expire," stated Congressman Capuano, who voted against the PATRIOT Act in the Fall of 2001.

The PATRIOT Act also allows the FBI to review the library records of patrons without their knowledge or consent and loosens restrictions on confidential school records.

"These are just some of the reasons why I did not and cannot support the PATRIOT Act. This legislation certainly could have been crafted in such a way that it provided law enforcement with enhanced tools to combat terrorism while at the same time preserving our civil liberties. Many provisions of the law are scheduled to expire in December of 2005. I will fight in the Congress to make sure that this happens," continued Congressman Capuano.

Despite growing concerns about the impact of the PATRIOT Act on our civil liberties, Attorney General Ashcroft is pushing to greatly expand the scope of this law and to ensure that it is permanently extended. Today's event in Boston, which is closed to the public, is one of more than a dozen stops on his tour.

"It's ironic that Attorney General Ashcroft has come to Boston, the birthplace of American liberty, to support a law that has done more to roll back our civil rights than any other in recent memory. The brave revolutionaries who fought against British tyranny would be ashamed of this propaganda campaign," said Congressman Capuano.

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Contact: Alison M. Mills (617) 621-6208