« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
we're looking for a needle in the haystack, and all the Department of Justice keeps doing is adding more hay to the stack.
So there are 160,000 in the field with special registration, about 83,000 registered. Almost 14,000 of them are held deportable, but no terrorist suspects and no information about terrorism resulted from any of this. And so the result is that it was ineffective, created fear, and it was based on crude profiling. It didn't work, and yet it caused irreparable damage to a whole lot of young, innocent people across the country who are now facing dramatic, life-changing decisions because of this program.
Ms. TAPIA RUANO. With regard to these closed hearings, these hearings were held in secret, and you asked what is the problem with that. Well, we believe part of a democratic society which is open, that this is an important concept. Not only were the individuals not allowed to have their family members and also have other individuals there for moral or other support, but family members often didn't even know where these individuals were, the fact that they were being held by the agency, where they were transferred to, the fact that they were facing any possible expulsion from the United States. And that created an enormous amount of anxiety.
What's the solution? Well, eliminate closed hearings with regard to blanket closed hearings, which is what these rules allow, just blanket closed hearings, without taking a look at was it justified, was there any possible reason to sustain the need to have a hearing closed.
We believe that the act that I mentioned just before, the Civil Liberties Restoration Act, is a solution to that by prohibiting closed hearings except in situations where a judge, after reviewing the individual facts, determines that it is in the interest of national security, or because of sensitive information, or at the choice of the individual detained. Those are rational, legal, fair reasons to have a closed hearing. But blanket closures, without the consent of the parties involved, appears to be abhorrent to our system.
Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ. Mr. Chairman, if I can just also point out and request permission to note that I apologize for being tardy. I arrived at 8:38, and wanted to have my presence noted for the record. And I yield back.
Chairman ŠENSENBRENNER. And your presence is noted, and your contribution is appreciated.
The gentlelady from Texas Ms. Jackson Lee.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Thank you very much, Mr. Conyers, for your insight on holding what I think may be one of the more crucial constitutional hearings that we may have in the history of this particular judiciary body.
Let me also thank Mr. Coble and Mr. Scott, as a Member of their Subcommittee, for the number of hearings that have been held, as well recognize the fact that this hearing is being held today.
I don't want this hearing to center around any one Member, but I do want to relate what I think we're trying to do today, and I really hope that we can do this
in a bipartisan manner. I think you remember, Dr. Zogby, that we did produce a bipartisan PATRIOT Act out of this Committee, with the partnership of the Chairman and the Ranking Member and all of us. Ultimately began to become a product of the Majority. In essence, the tyranny of the Majority ruled.
What I'm concerned about is that we're being clouded by our rightness on an issue, refusing to look at how we can fix problems. Reminds me of the time when this country held slaves for 400 years and refused to acknowledge the wrongness of that terrible act, and again, we were ruled by the tyranny of the Majority. Even reflecting upon President Lincoln's decision, history will tell you that it was not for the humanitarian needs of the slaves, but for some other reasons.
Then I cite prior to the attack by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor our refusal to acknowledge the Holocaust that was going on in the 1930's before we entered World War II; again, refusing to acknowledge dark times in our history.
The brutality of the civil rights movement in the 1950's and 1960's, we refused, for a period of time, to acknowledge the dark time in the history of America; just a few years ago when we turned the lights out on the brutality of a million people in Rwanda.
So I think what we have an opportunity to do today, as we all embrace those who lost lives and the families of 9/11, I don't think there was an American of any race, color or creed that did not mourn, did not fall to their knees, did not pray to their person of faith, who they believed in during that time. And so I think where we're going here today and the tone that I've heard by some of my colleagues is again trying to turn the lights out on absolute abuses.
My question is, one, are there any checks and balances under the PATRIOT Act to even prove one's innocence? That is a general question that I have.
Ms. Ruano, I want to know what have we done by diminishing the powers of the Bureau of Immigration Appeals so that there is no due process? How do Americans understand that by due process being eliminated from that Bureau, you are really beginning to eliminate due process rights for others as well?
Dr. Zogby, I think it's important, a point that you made earlier, that immigration does not equate to terrorism. Tell me, what kind of intimidation is fusing through the Muslim community in the United States and around the world because of that synonym now seems to be coming together?
Amnesty International, I'd appreciate if you would again speak to Guantanamo and as well the specifics of why the sort of elusiveness or unclarity, if I might say, of what Guantanamo means is putting young soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq in jeopardy of their lives.
And, Ms. Pearlstein, I would ask you as well about—if you would again speak to this whole question of detention, people being picked up randomly. And others may wish to comment on this whole registration of Muslims or Pakistani individuals which generated, I believe, no conviction and no arrests of terrorism.
And lastly let me say under the PATRIOT Act we have Minutemen at the border. That is what we are being driven to at this point. America needs to understand that we're in dark days that
answers on those questions. I hope we can turn the lights on in this room.
Chairman SENSENBRENNER. Nineteen seconds left of her 5 minutes.
Mr. ZOGBY. I would like to submit my testimony in full for the record to those questions for my part.
Chairman SENSENBRENNER. Without objection.
Ms. TAPIA RUANO. And I will just say one comment. The concern is, when you abuse noncitizens' due process rights, it is not going to take much more to abuse citizens' rights.
Ms. PEARLSTEIN. If I could just also submit for the record the recent report of the Human Rights First called Behind the Wire
Chairman SENSENBRENNER. Without objection.
Ms. PEARLSTEIN. And also a recent report called Getting to Ground Truth, which responds, I think, to the questions
Chairman SENSENBRENNER. Without objection.
Mr. PITTS. And I will submit our report on the specifics of Guantanamo. But I want to point out briefly that not just Amnesty, but academic institutions, Rand, International Institute for Strategic Studies, our own State Department have noted that terrorism is on the rise. And I think that's more than just correlation, it's causation.
Chairman SENSENBRENNER. Without objection. [The information referred to can be found in the Appendix.] Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Chairman, I would ask that the gentlelady from Texas be given enough time to have brief remarks from any of the witnesses before we close down. She is the lastChairman SENSENBRENNER. How much time does
the gentleman from Michigan request that the gentlewoman from Texas be granted?
Mr. CONYERS. Four minutes, 1 minute for each of the witnesses.
Chairman SENSENBRENNER. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Michigan to give each-an objection is heard.
Mr. NYERS. Mr. Chairman, I have a list of documents that I ask unanimous consent to submit to the record.
Chairman SENSENBRENNER. Without objection. [The information referred to can be found in the Appendix.] Chairman SENSENBRENNER. The Chair now recognizes himself.
First, the Chair would like to thank all the witnesses for coming and appearing, and particularly preparing your testimony on short notice.
Let me say that the purpose for which this hearing was called and the scope of the hearing was stated in a letter that was submitted to me, signed by the Democratic Members, which was the reauthorization of the USA PATRIOT Act. I have sat here listening very patiently to the testimony and the answers to the questions, and much of what has been stated is not relevant to the 16 sections of the USA PATRIOT Act which were sunsetted when the law was enacted in October of 2001.
One of the things that people who are opposed to the PATRIOT Act have been doing is stating that the PATRIOT Act was responpolicy. This hearing confirmed that fact, that the PATRIOT Act is being used as a buzzword for people who have very broad-brush objections.
I think that when Congress debates the reauthorization of the PATRIOT Act, we ought to stick to the subject, and that subject is the 16 provisions of the PATRIOT Act which we must consider and decide whether to reauthorize, whether to lapse or whether to amend.
The PATRIOT Act has nothing to do with Guantanamo; the PATRIOT Act has nothing to do with enemy combatants; the PATRIOT Act has nothing to do with indefinite detentions. Those were provisions of other sections of the law, many of which occurred prior to the enactment of the PATRIOT Act in October of 2001.
The so-called Creppy memorandum, which had a blanket closure of immigration proceedings, was issued before the PATRIOT Act was enacted, and the Deputy Attorney General testified earlier this week that it's no longer being followed.
And some of the testimony related to provisions of the PATRIOT Act that were not sunsetted, and this Committee put the sunset on provisions of the law which actually increased the powers of law enforcement, but did not put the sunset on those provisions of the law which restated the powers that law enforcement had had prior to October of 2001.
I think particularly irresponsible and indicative of the broadbrush accusations of the PATRIOT Act was what I just heard, saying the PATRIOT Act has resulted in Minutemen being on the border. That's not true, and that's irresponsible, and I think anybody who knows what is going on
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Will the gentleman yield?
Chairman SENSENBRENNER. No, I will not yield—will see that fact.
Let me say that I think this hearing very, very clearly shows what the opponents of the PATRIOT Act are doing. They will talk about practically everything but what's in the PATRIOT Act and what this Committee is considering. The only really relevant testimony that I heard was from Mr. Pitts, relative to section 215 of the PATRIOT Act that said that librarians have been receiving all kinds of questions from law enforcement. I'd like to ask you, Mr. Pitts, to submit for the record the names of the librarians that have received actual section 215 orders from the FISA Court to produce business records, and we will give you a week to put that in the record.
[The information referred to can be found in the Appendix.]
Chairman SENSENBRENNER. So thank you all for coming today. I thank the Members
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Will the gentleman yield?
MATERIAL SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARING RECORD PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE JOHN CONYERS, JR., A REPRESENTATIVE
IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF MICHIGAN, AND RANKING MEMBER, COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
There are few issues that are more important to this Committee or this Congress than the PATRIOT Act and the war against terror. This not only affects the rights and privacy of every American, but impacts the extent to which our nation is able to hold itself out as a beacon of liberty as we advocate for democracy around the world.
For many of us, this process of hearings is not merely about whether we should extend 16 expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act; it is about the manner in which our government uses its legal authority to prosecute the war against terror, both domestically and abroad. As we will hear from our witnesses today, those authorities have been abused.
We will learn from Amnesty International about the routine torture and degradation of detainees in American-run prisons that clearly violate American and international law. Both then-White House Counsel Gonzales and the Department of Justice conspired to create an end-run around the international and U.S. laws that criminalize that sort of behavior. While the Justice Department has supposedly reversed those opinions, it still refuses to charge those in its jurisdiction.
We will also receive testimony concerning the illegal detention and mistreatment of individuals at Guantanamo Bay. A federal court has found their detention and denial of legal process to be unconstitutional under the Fifth Amendment and illegal. And after the recent confirmation that jailers there desecrated the Koran, it's clearly time for the military to shut the Guantanamo facility down.
We will also learn about the abuse of the immigration system to unjustifiably detain and harass men of Middle Eastern descent. Our Justice Department held over 1,000 people in the wake of 9/11, and the Inspector General has found the detentions to violate the law. But no one has been punished, and nothing has been done to ensure it doesn't happen again.
Finally, we will receive testimony concerning the failure of our Administration's racial profiling tactics. Not only are tactics like these immoral, they have been proven to be completely useless in the war on terror. For example, our government's registration of 80,000 Middle Eastern men did nothing but create a deportation nightmare for families who had long been upstanding members of our communities. And not a single terrorist was found. Let me repeat that not a single terrorist was found.
Yesterday, the president announced with much fanfare that we need to not only reauthorize but expand the PATRIOT Act. But rather than making us safer, the abuses and excesses of our war against terrorism are actually tarnishing our nation's reputation and making us less safe. The testimony we are receiving today, and introducing into the record—will make that point abundantly clear.