Resolution: The Security and Freedom Ensured (SAFE) Act

Resolution: The Security and Freedom Ensured (SAFE) Act

As adopted by the Board of Governors, September 13, 2004 

Shortly after September 11, 2001, Congress passed the USA PATRIOT Act, which sought to provide greater protection from terrorism by providing law enforcement and intelligence with increased surveillance and investigation powers. AJC supported its passage, while at the same time calling for ongoing Congressional oversight of its implementation so as to prevent potential abuses of civil liberties.

A bi-partisan coalition in the Senate has introduced the Security and Freedom Ensured (“SAFE”) Act to address several provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act that, it is argued, have the potential to negatively affect civil liberties. This legislation appears to place reasonable limits on the authority given to law enforcement under the USA PATRIOT Act, without materially hindering their ability to investigate and prevent terrorism. Specifically, the SAFE Act would modify PATRIOT Act provisions by implementing additional safeguards for roving wiretaps and so-called “sneak and peek” search warrants, and would reinstate standards for obtaining library and other records that require the FBI to show it has reason to believe the person whose records are sought is a terrorist or spy. The bill would also modify the standards under the PATRIOT Act for the issuance of national security letters and four additional surveillance provisions would be added to those subject to the sunset clause.

As it increases protections for civil liberties while retaining powerful tools for law enforcement to employ in its effort to combat terrorism, the American Jewish Committee hereby endorses the SAFE Act as a thoughtful legislative measure to amend the USA PATRIOT Act.

As adopted by the Board of Governors,
September 13, 2004
Date: 9/13/2004 12:00:00 AM