Des Moines, Iowa — At 2:00 p.m. today, the ACLU of Iowa will deliver 60,000 signatures to the Des Moines office of U.S. Senator Charles Grassley, calling for an end to Section 215 of the Patriot Act.
Section 215 and two other sections of the Patriot Act are scheduled to sunset on Monday, June 1. Under Section 215, the National Security Agency (NSA) collects records of Americans’ phone calls every day, giving the government a detailed picture of innocent citizens’ lives and relationships.
The signatures presented to Sen. Grassley at his office at Suite 721, Neal Smith Federal Building, 210 Walnut Street, from concerned Americans all across the country, are a strong statement that Iowans and Americans as a whole believe that government surveillance has gone to far.
Polling released this month, conducted by a bipartisan pair of research firms, has found decisive support among voters for meaningful and comprehensive reform to the U.S. government’s surveillance practices. The polling, which included a nationwide survey as well as polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, and North Carolina, found approximately two-thirds of Americans believe the Patriot Act should not be reauthorized in its current form. This is true of men and women of all ages and – most importantly – across the political spectrum from liberal to conservative.
The courts have also found the government’s surveillance of American citizen’s needs to be reined in. A federal appeals court, in a case brought by the ACLU nationally, has found this nationwide call record program illegal.
These petitions were delivered to every member of the U.S. Senate on Friday, May 29 in advance of the chamber’s special session on the issue on Sunday, May 31.