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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JUNE 17, 2002
2:24 PM
CONTACT:  Institute for Public Accuracy
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020
David Zupan, (541) 484-9167
Interviews Available: The TIPS Program and Civil Liberties
 
WASHINGTON - July 17 - The Terrorist Information and Prevention System, according to U.S. government web sites [http://www.citizencorps.gov/tips.html, http://www.citizencorps.gov/enews/tips01.html], will involve "millions of American workers" such as "truck drivers, bus drivers, train conductors, mail carriers, utility readers, ship captains, and port personnel" in a "national system for reporting suspicious, and potentially terrorist-related activity." The following policy analysts are available for interviews:

ATHAN THEOHARIS, http://www.derechos.net/paulwolf/cointelpro/theoharris.htm
Theoharis, a professor of history at Marquette University, is author of books that include "Spying on Americans" and the recently released "Chasing Spies: How the FBI Failed in Counterintelligence But Promoted the Politics of McCarthyism in the Cold War Years." He said today: "Just as the government is now trying to anticipate terrorism, during the Cold War it tried to anticipate espionage. Hoover tried to solicit reports from people to root out Soviet spies and the results were just outrageous. It brought out the crazies and people who wanted to damage certain individuals, using misinformation and false allegations which were then used by the FBI -- like those made against Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Harrison Salisbury and Democratic presidential nominee Adlai Stevenson. From 1936 to 1956 there was an 1,800-percent increase in FBI appropriations. The agency placed illegal wiretaps and conducted break-ins. It failed in catching Soviet spies, but succeeded in helping to shape public opinion. Terrorists and spies take precautions to minimize discovery. The government's techniques then -- and now, it seems -- don't end up getting the perpetrators, but target people based on things like political activity and now religious beliefs."

JIM REDDEN, jredden@portlandtribune.com
Redden authored "Snitch Culture: How Citizens Are Turned into the Eyes and Ears of the State."

KIT GAGE, kgage@igc.org
Gage is director of the First Amendment Foundation. She said today: "This will be counterproductive in fighting terrorism as it will result in the further inundation of law enforcement with largely or entirely irrelevant information when it should be concentrating on following the trails of evidence. More dangerously, it may completely intimidate communities, stifle dissent activity, and head us in an uncontrollable way toward a police state."

DAVID COLE, cole@law.georgetown.edu, http://www.ccr-ny.org, http://www.thenation.com/directory/view.mhtml?handle=cole_david
Professor of law at the Georgetown University Law Center, Cole said today: "The war on terrorism requires the cooperation of us all, but we must be very careful to ensure that citizens not trample on their fellow citizens' constitutional rights of privacy in the name of cooperation. The danger is that we will become a society in which no one can trust anyone else, and that is hardly a society we want to live in."

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