Sunday, June 26, 2005

Obama's Stand Against Patriot Act Cheered

ABC News
Obama's Stand Against Patriot Act Cheered
Thousands of Librarians Applaud U.S. Sen. Barack Obama's Stand Against Patriot Act
By CARLA K. JOHNSON Associated Press Writer
The Associated Press

Jun. 26, 2005 - To the cheers of thousands of librarians, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama on Saturday called for the Senate to rewrite the USA Patriot Act to prevent investigators from scanning library records and bookstore sales slips.

Libraries should be "sanctuaries of learning where we are free to read and consider what we please without the fear that 'Big Brother' may be peering over our shoulder," Obama said in the keynote address at the American Library Association's annual conference.

Last week, despite a White House veto threat, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to restrict investigators from using the anti-terrorism law in libraries and book stores. Obama said he hopes the Senate follows suit.

"I hope we can pass a provision, just like the one that the House of Representatives passed overwhelmingly, that would require federal agents to get search warrants from a real judge in a real court, just like everyone else does," Obama said.

The conference, which runs in Chicago through Wednesday, drew more than 13,000 attendees, some of whom will discuss strategies for amending the Patriot Act, which was passed by Congress in the days following Sept. 11, 2001.

One attendee, Merryll Penson, executive director for library services for the University System of Georgia, said librarians "are not people who want to help terrorists," but want to see reading lists protected from automatic surveillance.

"For a lot of librarians, it's the principle," she said.

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