Arlington County, VA Expressing Concerns with Some Aspects of the US Patriot Act

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Arlington County, VA, US

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Type: Resolution

Status: Adopted on 9/5/07

Source File:



WHEREAS, Arlington County has a long-standing commitment to upholding the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and the laws adopted pursuant to them, and protecting the civil rights and liberties of all its residents; and,

WHEREAS, Arlington County has a diverse population characterized by differences in race, ethnicity, national origin, religious belief, sexual orientation, and income levels; and includes students, immigrants, the elderly, persons with disabilities, and others whose contributions to the community are vital to its economy, culture and civic character; and,

WHEREAS, Arlington County has among its residents many who were affected directly, and many more who were indirectly affected, by the tragic events of September 11, 2001, both in New York City and at the Pentagon located within Arlington County and only a short distance from the center of the Arlington County government; and,

WHEREAS, federal, state and local governments should protect the public from terrorist attacks such as those that occurred on September 11, 2001, and should do so in a deliberative fashion. All levels of government must ensure that any new security measures protect public safety, to the greatest extent possible, without impairing constitutional rights or infringing upon civil liberties; and,

WHEREAS, controversy has developed in response to federal policies adopted since September 11, 2001, including provisions in the USA Patriot Act (Public Law 107-56) and related executive orders, regulations and actions, as well as proposed legislation entitled the Domestic Security Enhancement Act (DSEA) (also known as Patriot II), about whether those policies threaten fundamental constitutional rights and civil liberties; and,

WHEREAS, Arlington County is committed to providing open and full access to information through its public libraries;


1. Affirms its support for constitutional rights and civil liberties in the face of government action that may threaten these values, as well as for the responsible exercise of governmental authority used to protect national security;

2. Affirms its strong support for the rights of immigrants and opposes measures that single out individuals for legal scrutiny or enforcement activity based on their country of origin;

3. Supports Congressional efforts to monitor federal anti-terrorism activities and to assess the impacts of the Patriot Act and other existing and proposed laws and regulations, including Patriot II;

4. Directs that the following notice be posted in all public libraries in order to inform library users: “NOTICE: Under Section 215 of the federal “USA PATRIOT” Act (Public Law 107-56), records of the books and other materials you have borrowed may be obtained by federal agents. That federal law prohibits librarians from informing you if records about you have been requested or obtained by federal agents. Questions about this policy should be directed to: Attorney General John Ashcroft, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C. 20530”;

5. Reaffirms the County’s policy to take all reasonable steps to destroy records that identify a book/material borrower after the material is returned, or identify an internet user after use; and

6. Directs that a copy of this resolution be transmitted to Senators Warner and Allen and Congressman Moran accompanied by a letter signed by the Chairman urging them to ensure that federal anti-terrorism laws and policies be implemented in a manner that does not infringe on the constitutional rights and civil liberties of Arlingtonians.