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[FYI] If this Congress surrenders civil liberties ...


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[Congressional Record: September 26, 2001 (Senate)]
[Page S9845-S9846]
>From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access 

                        AFTER SEPTEMBER 11, 2001

Mr. TORRICELLI. I thank the Chair.

Mr. President, I want to engage my colleagues and the American people 
in a discussion of the events of September 11, 2001.  


Everything can be discussed, and the Congress should be willing to 
listen to many, but it is the responsibility of this Congress, under 
the architecture designed by the Founding Fathers, and primarily the 
duty of this Senate where passions cool, better judgment reigns, 
civil liberties which are compromised. A Constitution which is 
changed to deal with the necessities of an emergency is not so easily 
restored when the peace is guaranteed and a victory won.  

If this Congress surrenders civil liberties and rearranges 
constitutional rights to deal with these terrorists, then their 
greatest victory will not have been won in New York but in 

Any administration can defeat terrorism by surrendering civil 
liberties and changing the Constitution. Our goal is to defeat 
terrorism, remain who we are, and retain the best about ourselves 
while defeating terrorism. It is more difficult, but it is what 
history requires us to do.  

The history of our Nation is replete with contrary examples, and we 
need to learn by them. They are instructive. For even the greats of 
American political life have given in to the temptation of our worst 
instincts to defeat our worst enemies and lose the best about 
ourselves. Indeed, the very architect of our independence, John 
Adams, under the threat of British and French subversion, supported 
the Alien and Sedition Acts, compromising the very freedom of 
expression he had helped to bring to the American people only a 
decade before. He lived with the blemish of those acts on his public 
life until the day he died.  

Abraham Lincoln, the Great Emancipator, the savior of our Union 
suspended the Constitution, its right of habeas corpus, imprisoning 
political opponents to save the Union.  

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who had the honor of saving the Nation not 
once but through the Great Depression and the Second World War, 
imprisoned Japanese Americans and some German and Italian Americans 
in a hasty effort at national security which has lived as a national 

If these great men, pillars of our democracy, compromised better 
judgment in time of national crisis, it should temper our instincts. 
Their actions should speak volumes about the need for caution at a 
time of national challenge.  


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