As Patriot Vote Approaches, Take Our Survey on Presidential Powers

As you read this, Congress is poised to reject commonsense reforms to the Patriot Act, choosing a White House-backed reauthorization deal over basic privacy protections for your personal records.

You have stood with the ACLU as we've fought for real Patriot Act reform and I want you to be the first to know that this fight is not over.

The bipartisan push for reform continues on Capitol Hill. As I write this, a group of courageous senators are speaking out against the reauthorization plan. Several other lawmakers have reiterated the need for real reform. And Congress is already planning hearings to investigate the massive increase in National Security Letter (NSL) record requests, an issue the ACLU continues to fight, and win on, in the federal courts.

But the fact is, until the Bush Administration chooses the rule of law over its pattern of abuses of power, any new reforms may simply go ignored under this President's extreme views of unlimited executive authority.

Lawmakers and regular Americans across the political spectrum have never been more alert to the reckless policies of this administration. A new poll of over 1000 Americans shows that a majority reject the President's illegal program of warrantless domestic surveillance, and doubt that he acted within the bounds of the law.

The American people reject the White House's assertion that the President has the authority to act outside of the law whenever and however he deems necessary. We've posted results and selected questions from the survey online so you can give your own opinions and see how they compare to our nationwide poll of voters across the political spectrum.

You might be surprised and even encouraged by what you learn -- because it turns out that when presented with the facts, the American voter has serious concerns about the government's actions.

We believe that now is the time to mobilize Americans to speak out against abuses like unauthorized domestic wiretapping...illegal detentions and flagrant violations of human rights at Guantanamo Bay...secret CIA kidnappings that transport victims to countries that engage in torture...FBI and Pentagon surveillance of peaceful political protestors...the refusal to hold high-level officials accountable for abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib.

People are hearing the ACLU's message that in America we can be both safe and free. We are heartened by these results and we are determined not to give up until together we have put an end to the abuses of power that have become a hallmark of the Bush Administration.

Thanks to your efforts, the Patriot Act reauthorization process has been a debate over fundamental freedoms, not the quick rubber-stamp the White House hoped for last spring and real momentum for reform is still alive in Congress.

Your active involvement will help us continue to make a difference in the fight. So, take a minute to compare your answers to those in our survey. And then help us keep the pressure on Congress by taking just one action today. Sign our Demand for the Truth,

//action.aclu.org/site/R?i=0OBsqWQ20lDRAAYwNe1dtA..
tell a friend about the ACLU survey
//action.aclu.org/site/R?i=wj3IAQfQzi7tjBDF5y4CZg..
or make a donation.


Sincerely,

Anthony D. Romero
Executive Director

P.S. The poll was a national telephone survey of 1,012 registered voters conducted on behalf of the ACLU from February 8-12. The margin of sampling error for the entire survey is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points at the 95 percent level of tolerance.

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