Dear ACLU Supporter,
I was incredibly proud when I opened up The New York Times yesterday and saw a major story about two of the people I have the privilege to work with every day here at ACLU headquarters. Here's an excerpt:
ACLU Lawyers Mine Documents for Truth
In the spring of 2003, long before Abu Ghraib or secret prisons became part of the American vocabulary, a pair of recently hired lawyers at the American Civil Liberties Union noticed a handful of news reports about allegations of abuse of prisoners in American custody.
The lawyers, Jameel Jaffer and Amrit Singh, wondered: Was there a broader pattern of abuse, and could a Freedom of Information Act request uncover it? Some of their colleagues, more experienced with the frustrations of such document demands, were skeptical. One made a tongue-in-cheek offer of $1 for every page they turned up.
Six years later, the detention document request and subsequent lawsuit are among the most successful in the history of public disclosure, with 130,000 pages of previously secret documents released to date and the prospect of more.
"We've got to make sure our people see this." That's the entire text of the email I sent to Anthony Romero, the ACLU's executive director, as soon as I finished reading the article.
You see, this isn't just a great story about our brilliant and remarkably determined -- some might even say bullheaded -- legal team. It's a story about you and how a persistent and principled ACLU draws strength from hundreds of thousands of online supporters willing to back us up when we set out to right a wrong.
I hope you're as proud to be part of the ACLU as I am right now. Together -- you, our lawyers and the rest of our staff and supporters -- make this historical work possible.
Please become a Guardian of Liberty monthly donor today.
You deserve to know that, sooner or later, all the hard work we do together will bring about respect for the Constitution and the rule of law. Last week, Attorney General Eric Holder finally ordered an investigation into the Bush torture program.
It's not yet the full investigation we need -- one that will follow the evidence wherever it leads and hold high-ranking officials responsible for the incredible abuses you and the ACLU have helped expose. That is where you and the persistence your support makes possible comes in. Because anyone who thinks the ACLU is going to stop before we get to the bottom of this hasn't been paying attention.
It is a real privilege to be working to bring about the change our country needs and to do so alongside people like Jameel, Amrit and supporters like you. To read the full story in The New York Times about our work, go here.
Thanks for all you do -- and for your ongoing commitment to our work together.
Gerri Engel Membership Director American Civil Liberties Union