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University of Iowa News Release

Feb. 6, 2004

UI Law Professor Yin To Debate Patriot Act

University of Iowa law professor Tung Yin will participate in a debate about the war on terror and the Patriot Act at Cornell College on Tuesday, Feb. 10.

The debate, "The War on Terror: Are We Losing Civil Liberties to Gain National Security?" begins at 7 p.m. in Hedges Conference Room of The Commons. Admission is free.

Yin and Hanna Weston, a Cedar Rapids civil liberties attorney, will be opposed by Charles Larson Sr., U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa, and his assistant, Patrick Reinert, U.S. military court-martial judge.

After 9/11, Congress passed the Patriot Act giving the U.S. government broader authority over surveillance, immigration, foreign students, intelligence gathering and criminal law jurisdictions. The Department of Homeland Security was established and funded. At home, the inconvenience of airport screening may be modest but the stakes are large for both security and civil liberties in our open society. In the presidential election, national security could be the critical issue for many. What is the true balance sheet between security gained and civil liberties lost? Are we doing it well or can we do better?

Larson and Reinert will defend the U.S. government's case that both our security from terrorists and our civil liberties have been successfully protected. Yin and Weston will argue that the government's methods have been quietly undermining civil liberties, unnecessarily, in a "war" without precedent that has no clear end.

The debate is sponsored by the Mount Vernon-Lisbon League of Women Voters and Cornell's Public Interest Group and Women's Action Group. The moderator will be Don Cell, Cornell professor emeritus.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Snee, 319-384-0010,