The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Matthew Allee, (202) 580-6922 or

The Constitution Project Joins President Obama's Call to Depoliticize National Security


In his much-anticipated speech today
at the National Archives, President Obama reaffirmed that adhering to
America's constitutional principles strengthens our resolve, while
keeping our nation safe. The bipartisan Constitution Project applauds
his call that: "We will not be safe if we see national security as a
wedge that divides America - it can and must be a cause that unites us
as one people, as one nation." The Constitution Project has long
recognized that neither our national security nor our constitutional
rights are partisan issues. We join the president in condemning the
"fear-mongering" of the recent debate over the fate of Guantanamo
detainees. The Project also commends the President for publicly
reaffirming his commitment to try as many detainees as possible in our
federal courts and to abide by previous court rulings to release
twenty-plus detainees.

"President Obama did well to remind
Congress and the American people that our national security should
bring Democrats and Republicans together in working to keep our nation
safe," said Virginia Sloan, president of the Constitution Project. "He
deserves praise for his pledge to bring justice to our detention
policies and his recognition that detainees should be freed promptly if
courts have ordered them released because there is no evidence that
they intend to harm our nation. Their continued detention does nothing
but endanger our security and betray our principles.

"But President Obama's announcement
that he will seek legislation to create a system of preventive
detention for detainees he claims cannot be tried, nor released, is
inconsistent with his call for our country to adhere to the rule of
law. Similarly, while we welcome the president's call for transparency
and reform of the state secrets privilege, we urge him to go further
and support legislation that will ensure that state secrets privilege
claims are independently reviewed by neutral and independent judges. As
the president continues to work to restore the rule of law in America,
his actions must be consistent with his soaring rhetoric. Our
Constitution is our nation's best line of defense."

The members of the Project's bipartisan Liberty and Security Committee condemned preventive detention in their Critique of National Security Courts and urged judicial review of state secrets claims in their report Reforming the State Secrets Privilege.

The Constitution Project is a politically independent think tank established in 1997 to promote and defend constitutional safeguards. More information about the Constitution Project is available at