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Reform Jewish Leader Expresses Concerns over Domestic Surveillance
In response to recent reports that President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others in the United States without court-approved warrants, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement noting, “Only through full and fair hearings on the Administration’s use of domestic spying can the legal issues involved be explored, and a determination be made as to whether the information gained compellingly outweighs the diminishment of our liberties.”

Saperstein: Only through full and fair hearings on the Administration’s use of domestic spying can the legal issues involved be explored, and a determination be made as to whether the information gained compellingly outweighs the diminishment of our liberties.

Contact: Alexis Rice or Liz Kaplan 202.387.2800

Washington, December 19, 2005 - In response to recent reports that President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others in the United States without court-approved warrants, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

The recent revelation that President Bush authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others in the United States without court approval is cause for great concern. In times of serious threat, the balance between security and protection of our civil liberties must be constantly assessed. Yet our nation has experienced the abuse of civil liberties in the name of security in the past, and the wisdom gained from that experience led to the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, under which domestic surveillance can only be conducted with court approval. By his own admission, the President has circumvented that process.

Throughout the centuries, Jewish communities have known the consequences of unchecked government power. For this reason, the Reform Jewish Movement now calls on Congress to assert its role in the ingenious system of checks and balances established by our founding fathers through full and fair hearings on the Administration’s use of domestic spying. Only through such open hearings can the legal issues involved be explored, and a determination be made as to whether the information gained compellingly outweighs the diminishment of our liberties. In the fight against terror and for freedom for others, we must never abandon our commitment to our own freedom and the rule of law.

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism , whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews , and the Central Conference of American Rabbis , whose membership includes more than 1800 Reform rabbis.



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