Libertarian National Committee urges repeal of USA/Patriot Act

from LP News

[March 19. 2002] The Libertarian National Committee has voted to call for the repeal of the USA/Patriot Act, charging that it "sacrifices" the liberties of American citizens.

At its meeting in Evergreen, Colorado on March 16, the Libertarian National Committee (LNC) voted 10 to zero, with one abstention, to urge the repeal of the bill, which was rushed through Congress in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

The resolution said the USA/Patriot Act "sacrifices many of our liberties and curtails many of our freedoms in the name of military security, thereby compromising some of the purposes for which [the United States] government was created."

While "securing our liberties and protecting our rights are among the primary purposes of the United States government," Libertarians "do not support sacrificing our liberties and curtailing our rights in the name of military security," the resolution noted.

Therefore, "the Libertarian National Committee calls for the repeal of the USA/Patriot Act," it stated.

The resolution was introduced by LNC Secretary Steve Givot.

LP Executive Director Steve Dasbach applauded the LNC's action, and said the resolution will help define what Libertarians stand for in the post-September 11 world.

"The Libertarian Party has previously endorsed appropriate military action to bring to justice the ruthless terrorists who killed 3,000 Americans on September 11," he said. "However, with this resolution, the LNC has drawn a line in the sand, and made it clear that Libertarians will not tolerate any infringement of our basic civil liberties in the name of combating terrorism.

"When Republicans and Democrats passed the USA/Patriot Act, they did an easy thing, given the mood of the public. When the LNC voted to repeal the bill, they did a difficult thing -- because real patriotism entails defending the Bill of Rights, even when doing so is unpopular, instead of sacrificing fundamental American principles during a time of crisis."

The USA/Patriot Act gave the U.S. attorney general the power to install the carnivore e-mail snooping system without a court warrant; expanded the legal definition of a "terrorist;" and made it easier for the government to tap multiple phones as part of a "roving wiretap."

The bill was signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 26, 2001, after passing the U.S. Senate 98-1, and the U.S. House 356-66.

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