Wednesday, September 17, 2003

A letter to the editor

From the New York Times:

"To the Editor:

Re "Ashcroft Mocks Librarians and Others Who Oppose Parts of Counterterrorism Law" (news article, Sept. 16):

As the author of legislation that would restore privacy protections to libraries, booksellers and their patrons — protections that were stripped away by the hastily passed Patriot Act — I find Attorney General John Ashcroft's flippant remarks about the justified concerns of America's librarians disturbing.

Librarians throughout the country are fighting hard to temper the sweeping new powers given to federal agents to gain access to Americans' reading records. Millions of Americans are grateful to librarians and to the American Library Association for defense of their basic constitutional rights.

Instead of making derisive remarks, one would hope that the country's chief law enforcement officer, who is sworn to protect the Constitution, would be working with librarians, booksellers and civil liberties groups, not against them.
Member of Congress, Vermont
Washington, Sept. 16, 2003

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