Blog of Rights

Michael
German
Comey's Hollow MLK Guidance to FBI Agents

Comey's Hollow MLK Guidance to FBI Agents

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Michael German, Senior Policy Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:21am
Newly sworn in FBI Director James Comey has ordered all new FBI agent trainees to visit the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, DC, so they can reflect on the FBI's infamous history of hounding the civil rights leader and recognize "the dangers in becoming untethered to oversight and accountability."

Flawed Theories on Violent Extremism Lead to Bad Policy

By Michael German, Senior Policy Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:34pm

(Originally posted on the Charity & Security Network.)

The recent spate of terrorist incidents and arrests involving Americans has policy-makers and security professionals scrambling to find a future-seeing Precog to help them identify…

FBI's Civil Liberties History: Palmer Raids to Racial Profiling Guidelines

By Michael German, Senior Policy Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:28pm

(Originally posted on Daily Kos.)

Since its inception 100 years ago this week, FBI has been assigned with an increasingly difficult task: protecting the public welfare in a free and democratic society.

Throughout its…

Who’s a Radical Now?

Who’s a Radical Now?

By Michael German, Senior Policy Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:10am

The Bipartisan Policy Center published a report last week called, “Countering Online Radicalization in America,” which strongly endorsed First Amendment principles in rejecting censorship as an appropriate tactic for addressing violent…

Government Extends Time it Can Retain Info on Innocent Americans in Counterterrorism Databases

Government Extends Time it Can Retain Info on Innocent Americans in Counterterrorism Databases

By Michael German, Senior Policy Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 2:29pm

The Obama administration has extended the time the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) can collect and hold on to records on U.S. citizens and residents from 180 days to five years, even where those people have no suspected ties to terrorism.…

FBI Official Agrees with ACLU: Suspicionless Surveillance is Ineffective and Counterproductive

FBI Official Agrees with ACLU: Suspicionless Surveillance is Ineffective and Counterproductive

By Michael German, Senior Policy Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:11pm

This week a high-level FBI official made some welcome comments on the NYPD's spying on New York City's Muslim communities and organizations that mirror the ACLU's own position on the suspicionless surveillance.

As you know, we at the ACLU…

Reviewing Counterterrorism Training Materials, Biased and Not

By Michael German, Senior Policy Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:43am

As we noted yesterday, we are pleased that the White House has initiated a government-wide review of counterterrorism training materials, after the ACLU uncovered numerous FBI examples of training materials that falsely and inappropriately portray…

The Government's 9/11 Secrecy Obsession

The Government's 9/11 Secrecy Obsession

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project & Michael German, Senior Policy Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:16pm

Our government lost its way after 9/11 in many different respects. One of them was to worsen what had already been long apparent as one of the most significant problems with our security establishment: its out-of-control habit of secrecy.

The…

Keep Constitution Intact When Interrogating Terrorists

By Michael German, Senior Policy Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:36pm

(Originally posted on Roll Call.)

Over the past two weeks, most Americans have applauded the FBI, the New York Police Department and the other law enforcement agencies that leapt into action after the failed bombing in Times Square to track…

How to Improve Terrorist Watchlists

By Michael German, Senior Policy Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:28pm

(Originally posted on Freep.com)

We quickly learned that the would-be bomber who sought to bring down Flight 253 just before landing in Detroit on Christmas Day was in a terrorist database, but still allowed to board the plane. As a result,…

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