In the wake of revelations about the scope of government surveillance programs, People For the American Way called for a renewed debate about fixing or repealing the deeply flawed PATRIOT Act. People For the American Way President Michael Keegan issued the following statement:
“The revelations that have appeared in the media in recent days underscore the urgency of a new and vigorous debate about the PATRIOT Act. The powers the PATRIOT Act grants to the executive branch were dangerously broad when it was passed, and they’re dangerously broad now. While it remains to be seen whether the government complied with the law, it seems evident neither the standard of judicial review for the authorization of surveillance activities nor the one-sided nature of the process has adequately protected our constitutional right to privacy.
“Even worse, the law as it is written and interpreted cripples our public debate about how we balance our security and our liberty. Congressional critics of the PATRIOT Act have been prevented from speaking publicly and ordinary citizens have been left in the dark about what’s being done in their name. That’s no way to run a democracy.”