Pittsburgh, PA Expressing Concerns with Some Aspects of the US Patriot Act
Status: Adopted on 4/26/04
Legislative File Number 2004-0296
WHEREAS, Congress passed the USA PATRIOT Act (PL 107-56) on October 26, 2001, following the horrific attacks on America of September 11, 2001, and
WHEREAS, a number of individuals have raised issues regarding several provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act and other related national security measures with respect to their impact on the civil rights and civil liberties of the residents of the City of Pittsburgh, including those who are immigrants, are Muslim or of Arab or South Asian descent, in the following areas:
- a. Telephone and internet surveillance.
- b. The government's power to conduct searches with delay of notice to the subjects.
- c. The authority of the Secretary of State to designate groups, including political and religious groups, as "terrorist organizations."
- d. The authority of the Attorney General to subject non-citizens to indefinite detention or deportation, even if they have not committed a crime.
- e. The Federal Bureau of Investigations' (FBI) access to sensitive medical, mental health, financial, and educational records about individuals without having to show evidence of a crime.
- f. The FBI's authority to compel libraries and bookstores to produce circulation or book purchase records of their patrons, and forbidding disclosure that such records have been requested and produced.
- g. The authority to designate American citizens "enemy combatants," subjecting them to being detained indefinitely without charges or counsel.
- h. Monitoring confidential communications between attorneys and their clients.
WHEREAS, the City of Pittsburgh is proud of its long and distinguished tradition of protecting the civil rights and civil liberties of all its residents and affirming the fundamental rights of all people; and
WHEREAS, the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution guarantees all people living in the City of Pittsburgh freedom of speech, assembly and privacy, equality before the law and the presumption of innocence, access to counsel and due process in judicial proceedings, and protection from unreasonable searches and seizures; and
WHEREAS, the preservation of civil rights and civil liberties is a pillar of American society and is essential to the well-being of any democracy, particularly during times of conflict when such rights and liberties may be implicated; and
WHEREAS, the City of Pittsburgh denounces terrorism, supports our men and women here and abroad battling terrorism, and acknowledges that federal, state and local governments have a responsibility to protect the public from terrorist attacks; and
WHEREAS, the Pittsburgh City Council believes that residents of this City and this nation can be both safe and free.
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT WE THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF PITTSBURGH:
AFFIRM the City of Pittsburgh's abhorrence of, and opposition to, global terrorism, and the City's support for the efforts of law enforcement to protect the public from further acts of terrorism.
AFFIRM the City of Pittsburgh's support for the fundamental, constitutionally protected civil rights and liberties of all our residents, and oppose those measures that unconstitutionally infringe upon such civil rights and liberties or that single out individuals for legal scrutiny or enforcement activity based solely on their country of origin, religion, ethnicity or immigration status.
AFFIRM our commitment to continue to monitor these issues regarding the proper balance between the responsibility of law enforcement to protect the public from acts of terrorism and the rights of the residents of the City of Pittsburgh to be both safe and free.