Over Forty Groups Send Letter to Congress on 9-11 Commission Recommendations

A Coalition of over 40 organizations sent a letter to members of the Congress outlining key points that should be considered as they draft legislation based on the 9-11 Commission recommendations. The letter defines specific areas of concern and makes recommendations on how the goal of security and freedom can both be served.

Following the issuing of the Commission’s report Congress is acting quickly to address the report recommendations, but the letter warns that there may be unintended negative consequences for privacy and civil liberties if precautions are not taken. Congress should be mindful of the known failure of current information sharing schemes to secure this nation against terrorist attacks, which have been deployed at the cost of civil rights and civil liberties.


Letter to Congress on the Attorney General's Guidelines

A coalition of over thirty civil liberties organizations has sent letters to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees urging prompt review of the Attorney General's Guidelines. The Guidelines define the powers of the FBI to bring investigations against Americans. Changes to the Guidelines made by Attorney General Ashcroft will allow the FBI to engage in prospective searches in places of worship and the use of private-sector databases to detect criminal activity.

The letter urges Congress to review how the changes impact First Amendment freedoms of political and religious organization, to question the legal basis for the changes, to establish regular oversight of FBI activities to prevent abuse, and to determine how long the guidelines will be in effect.


  1. On September 11, 2001 thousands of people lost their lives in a brutal assault on the American people and the American form of government. We mourn the loss of these innocent lives and insist that those who perpetrated these acts be held accountable.

  2. This tragedy requires all Americans to examine carefully the steps our country may now take to reduce the risk of future terrorist attacks.

  3. We need to consider proposals calmly and deliberately with a determination not to erode the liberties and freedoms that are at the core of the American way of life.

  4. We need to ensure that actions by our government uphold the principles of a democratic society, accountable government and international law, and that all decisions are taken in a manner consistent with the Constitution.

  5. We can, as we have in the past, in times of war and of peace, reconcile the requirements of security with the demands of liberty.

  6. We should resist the temptation to enact proposals in the mistaken belief that anything that may be called anti-terrorist will necessarily provide greater security.

  7. We should resist efforts to target people because of their race, religion, ethnic background or appearance, including immigrants in general, Arab Americans and Muslims.

  8. We affirm the right of peaceful dissent, protected by the First Amendment, now, when it is most at risk.

  9. We should applaud our political leaders in the days ahead who have the courage to say that our freedoms should not be limited.

  10. We must have faith in our democratic system and our Constitution, and in our ability to protect at the same time both the freedom and the security of all Americans.

Organizations In Defense of Freedom

Law Professors In Defense of Freedom (PDF)
Press Release

Computer Scientists In Defense of Freedom (PDF)

More than 150 organizations, 300 law professors, and 40 computer scientists have expressed support for the In Defense of Freedom statement.

The IDOF Coalition supports the ten point statement listed above. The Coalition neither supports nor opposes specific legislation or provisions of legislation. Individual organizations in the coalition, however, may have taken positions on specific legislation.