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ACLU * ACLU * ACLU * ACLU * ACLU * ACLU * ACLU * ACLU * ACLU NEWS RELEASE * NEWS RELEASE * NEWS RELEASE * NEWS RELEASE ACLU SUPPORTS REAUTHORIZATION OF INDEPENDENT COUNSEL For IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 3, 1993 The American Civil Liberties Union today called on Congress to permanently reauthorize the independent counsel statute. In a statement submitted to the Subcommittee on Administrative Law and Governmental Relations of the House Judiciary Committee, the ACLU supported the Independent Counsel Reauthorization Act of 1993, but said the subcommittee should not limit the law's life to 5 years. Kate Martin, Director of the ACLU's Center for National Security Studies, called "the independent counsel an essential tool to protect against abuses of power by government officials, especially in the area of intelligence activities." Martin noted that the ACLU approaches the Independent Counsel statute with a set of separate and potentially conflicting concerns. "The ACLU is committed to protecting the constitutional rights of criminal defendants," she said. "But at the same time, we believe that government officials must be held accountable for breaking the law, especially when violations involve secret government operations conducted in the name of national security." For example, in the Iran-Contra affair, the ACLU urged the appointment of an independent counsel. Later, the ACLU filed amicus curiae briefs on behalf of Iran-Contra defendants Oliver North and John Poindexter urging that their convictions be overturned because their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination were violated. "The independent counsel statute is particularly necessary to investigate alleged crimes by members of the intelligence community, such as lying to Congress or to government investigators," Martin said. "Such abuses of government power threaten democratic government because they have the effect of depriving the Congress and the public of their constitutionally prescribed role in making decisions." --endit-- ============================================================= ACLU Free Reading Room | A publications and information resource of the gopher:// | American Civil Liberties Union National Office | | "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty"


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