The Attack on Civil Liberties

The Village Voice has compiled a special section devoted to the Bush administration's attack on civil liberties, which may prove useful in the wake of recent revelations that the Bush administration had forewarnings of September 11. Meanwhile, Peter Erlinder of the National Lawyers Guild has called for a re-examination of "the lies that were told to Congress and the American people after Sept. 11 to justify the administration's war on civil liberties." In the name of the "war on terrorism," the Bush administration demanded and got what it called new "tools" to prevent unexpected terrorist attacks, including new wiretap authority, secret searches, the use of secret evidence, secret immigration hearings, and taping lawyers' conversations. "All of this has been justified in the name of preventing another 'surprise attack,'" Erlinder says. "The administration, however, had the right 'tools' in place before Sept. 11. Those tools would have proved effective, if the administration had known how to use them."