Blog of Rights

Michelle
Richardson

Michelle Richardson (@Richardson_Mich) is a Legislative Counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union Washington Legislative Office where she focuses on national security and government transparency issues such as the Patriot Act, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, cybersecurity, state secrets and the Freedom of Information Act. Before coming to the ACLU in 2006, Richardson served as counsel to the House Judiciary Committee where she specialized in national security, civil rights and constitutional issues for Democratic Ranking Member John Conyers (D-Mich.).

Gang of Eight Members Want a Bigger Gang

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:37pm
The “gang of eight” is a group of members of Congress with a pretty sweet name that includes the leaders, both Democrat and Republican, of the Senate and House, as well as the chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. The “gang” is briefed on covert intelligence matters by the administration when the president “determines it is essential to limit access” to classified or national security information in “extraordinary circumstances.” The "gang" is also sworn to secrecy to not disclose this information to anyone, even other members of Congress.
Congressional Momentum Against NSA Spying Continues to Grow

Congressional Momentum Against NSA Spying Continues to Grow

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:01pm

To hear some in the press tell it, Congress could not be more indifferent to the recent revelations that the NSA is collecting all of the phone records of all law-abiding Americans. This isn't entirely an unfair conclusion to draw, however rash. Congress,…

CISPA Explainer #2: With Whom Can Information Be Shared?

CISPA Explainer #2: With Whom Can Information Be Shared?

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:20am

We've written extensively about CISPA over the last year, but since the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence is set to mark the bill up next week, and the full House to vote on it the week after that, we're dissecting its shortcomings.…

Warrantless Wiretapping Wins Again

Warrantless Wiretapping Wins Again

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:23pm

It’s official.  The Senate voted 72-23 last week to extend the FISA Amendments Act another five years, which President Obama signed Sunday. Unfortunately, the public discussion of George W. Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program may…

Senate Committee Releases Report On FISA Reauthorization

Senate Committee Releases Report On FISA Reauthorization

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 2:44pm

This past Friday, the Senate Intelligence Committee publicly released its report on S. 3276, a five year extension of the FISA Amendments Act (FAA). The Committee voted 13-2 to extend the FAA-the law that legalized President Bush’s…

In House Hearing, ACLU Tells Congress to Fix FISA

In House Hearing, ACLU Tells Congress to Fix FISA

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:21am

Yesterday, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security held a hearing on the government’s warrantless wiretapping program (watch here). The law authorizing the program, the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, expires at…

Next Round in Cybersecurity Battle: The Senate

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:36pm

Two weeks ago, the House of Representatives passed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA). But thanks to internet activism and advocacy by organizations like the ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, 168 Congressmen voted…

Keep Domestic Cybersecurity Efforts in Civilian Hands

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 8:37am

Last night the House of Representatives passed HR 3523, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA. We’ve written about the many privacy problems with this bill, but here I would like to focus on one of its biggest and most fundamental…

In Advance of CISPA Vote, Congress Needs to Hear From You

In Advance of CISPA Vote, Congress Needs to Hear From You

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:53pm

Call your representatives today and urge them not to sacrifice the civil liberties of Internet users in any cybersecurity legislation.

Opposition to CISPA is Growing!

Opposition to CISPA is Growing!

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:01pm

It's day two of "cyber week" in the House, and there is good news to report: opposition to the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act is growing.

First, conservatives made a big splash over the last several days by…

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