Tell President Obama: Veto the PATRIOT Act!

A Decade in Crisis
April 1, 2011
End PATRIOT Act abuses. Stand for JUSTICE.
April 11, 2011

On the anniversary of the first veto in US history—George Washington’s veto 219 years ago today—BORDC and a coalition of other civil liberties groups are calling on President Barack Obama to exercise his veto power on any bill reauthorizing the PATRIOT Act without imposing meaningful reforms to protect civil liberties. During his campaign, the president repeatedly criticized the PATRIOT Act and promised to implement reforms to protect law-abiding Americans from unchecked surveillance. But now, for the second time since taking office in 2009, Obama has taken the same position on the PATRIOT Act as President Bush. Today, call the White House and tell President Obama to keep his campaign promises by vetoing any bill to reauthorize PATRIOT Act powers unless it imposes new checks and balances to prevent abuse.

White House Phone Number: (202) 456-1111 Calls must be placed between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern time

Civil liberties groups across the country are demanding that Congress and the White House restore constitutional checks and balances by extending the rule of law to our nation’s intelligence agencies.

  • Protect the privacy of your Internet and financial records by requiring that secret national security letters and Section 215 orders can only be used to obtain records linked to suspected spies and terrorists, not innocent Americans.
  • Protect the free speech of those who receive such secret demands by ensuring that they can speak freely unless the government can demonstrate to a court that national security would be seriously harmed.
  • Stop blank-check “John Doe” roving wiretaps by requiring foreign intelligence investigators to name their surveillance target before they can get a “roving” wiretap order that lets them spy on unspecified phone and Internet accounts—just like criminal investigators have to.
  • Let the “lone wolf” wiretapping provision expire. This dangerous authority unconstitutionally allows the government to bypass traditional protections to spy on people inside the U.S. who have no link to any foreign organization. This provision has never been used—nor should it ever be used.
  • Restore the First Amendment by fixing the “material support” standard. Charities have been shut down without due process, even when pursuing projects such as promoting non-violent conflict resolution in war-torn areas, and hundreds of grassroots donors are in prison because organizations to which they contributed conducted activities the donors never intended to support. Prosecutors should have to prove that the target of an investigation intended to support violence in order to convict someone of “material support” of terrorism.

Call the White House TODAY and tell President Obama to stand up for civil liberties by vetoing any PATRIOT Act reauthorization that doesn’t include these reforms. P.S. Members of Congress will return to their districts for two weeks later this month, making it easier for you to meet with them. Sign up to meet with your senators and representatives and demand that they too stand up and impose meaningful reforms to stop PATRIOT Act abuses.