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ACLU * ACLU * ACLU * ACLU * ACLU * ACLU * ACLU * ACLU * ACLU NEWS RELEASE * NEWS RELEASE * NEWS RELEASE * NEWS RELEASE ACLU Launches National Campaign To Insure That Congress Is Not Misled About Administration's Persian Gulf Policy For RELEASE: AFTER 2 P.M. Monday, December 17, 1990 WASHINGTON -- The American Civil Liberties Union today launched a national campaign to insure that government officials do not mislead or lie to Congress about the Administration's military plans in the Persian Gulf. The ACLU placed an advertisement in today's _Federal Times_ stating that government employees have "the legal right and a political responsiblity" to tell Congress if they know that Congress has been misinformed. The ACLU offered to assist anyone in getting information to the proper congressional officials. (A copy of the advertisement is attached.) "The experience of the Iran-Contra affair and the Vietnam War teaches us that the Administration is most likely to deceive Congress--and the American people--when it is pursuing a controversial foreign and military policy in the face of congressional and public cautiousness and opposition," Morton H. Halperin, the Director of the ACLU's Washington office, said at a Washington news conference. "Government employees who mislead or lie to Congress can be guilty of a crime, as was the case with John Poindexter, Robert McFarlane and Richard Helms," Halperin continued. "The ACLU therefore urges any person who has knowledge that Congress was deliberately given the wrong message about Administration policy on the Persian Gulf crisis to notify Congress or, if necessary, the media, to set the record straight. "Congress cannot perform its constitutional function of deciding whether or not to authorize the President to go to war if the Administration deceives Congress about the President's policy and intentions," Halperin concluded. Daniel Ellsberg, who disclosed the Pentagon Papers to expose executive branch deception during the Vietnam War, joined Halperin at a news conference. "Senator Wayne Morse told me that if I had given the Senate Foreign Relations Committee the documents in the Pentagon Papers in 1964 rather than in 1969, the Tonkin Gulf Resolution never would have passed and the horrors of the Vietnam War might have been averted," he said. Ellsberg then addressed his former colleagues and their successors in the executive branch: "If you have documents or other information bearing on decisions of war or peace about which you know that Congress is being misled or manipulated, you should be prepared to give that information to Congress and the public, now, before the guns have started. "Even if you fear the loss of your career or possibly -- as I expected -- prosecution and prison, those risks may be worth taking," Ellsberg said. "A war's worth of lives is at stake."


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