Blog of Rights

Patrick
Toomey

Patrick Toomey (@PatrickCToomey) is a staff attorney in the ACLU’s National Security Project, where he works on issues related to electronic surveillance, national security prosecutions, whistle-blowing, and racial profiling. Mr. Toomey is a graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School. After graduating from law school, he served as a law clerk to the Hon. Nancy Gertner, United States District Judge for the District of Massachusetts, and to the Hon. Barrington D. Parker, United States circuit judge for the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

The NSA Has Taken Over the Internet Backbone. We're Suing to Get it Back.

The NSA Has Taken Over the Internet Backbone. We're Suing to Get it Back.

By Patrick C. Toomey, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 8:07am
Every time you email someone overseas, the NSA copies and searches your message. It makes no difference if you or the person you're communicating with has done anything wrong. If the NSA believes your message could contain information relating to the foreign affairs of the United States – because of whom you're talking to, or whom you're talking about – it may hold on to it for as long as three years and sometimes much longer.
DEA Discloses Bulk Surveillance of Americans’ International Phone Calls

DEA Discloses Bulk Surveillance of Americans’ International Phone Calls

By Patrick C. Toomey, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 4:37pm

Update (1/212014): The ACLU has filed a Freedom of Information Act request demanding that the DEA and other federal agencies release further information to the public about this database. The recent revelation of the DEA’s bulk phone records…

Too Big To Comply? NSA Says It’s Too Large, Complex to Comply With Court Order

Too Big To Comply? NSA Says It’s Too Large, Complex to Comply With Court Order

By Patrick C. Toomey, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 9:52am

In an era of too-big-to-fail banks, we should have known it was coming: An intelligence agency too big to rein in — and brazen enough to say so.

In a remarkable legal filing on Friday afternoon, the NSA told a federal court that its spying…

NSA Congress

Getting the Innocent out of the NSA’s Shadow Database

By Patrick C. Toomey, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 3:20pm

There’s a lot the Senate can and should do to improve upon the version of the USA Freedom Act passed by the House of Representatives last week. (My colleague Gabe Rottman outlines some of the most necessary changes here.) That includes one of the…

Privacy keyboard Photo source: g4ll4is from Flickr

Let's Lock Down the NSA's Shadow Database

By Patrick C. Toomey, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 10:07am

This is the final blog of a three-part series.

Less than a year after the NSA's dragnet surveillance of Americans was first exposed to public scrutiny, the president has formally issued a proposal to end the bulk collection of our phone records.…

Who Did the NSA's Illegal Spying Put in Jail?

Who Did the NSA's Illegal Spying Put in Jail?

By Patrick C. Toomey, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 10:53am

Last week, the ACLU joined a constitutional challenge to the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 (FAA), the statute that allows the NSA to engage in dragnet surveillance of Americans' international phone calls and emails. With the Federal Defenders Office,…

NSA Spy Target Challenges Warrantless Wiretapping Law

NSA Spy Target Challenges Warrantless Wiretapping Law

By Patrick C. Toomey, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 4:36pm

The ACLU today joined a new challenge to the constitutionality of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 (FAA) — the surveillance law that gives the NSA virtually unfettered access to the international phone calls and emails of U.S. citizens and residents.…

The NSA's Shadow Database

The NSA's Shadow Database

By Patrick C. Toomey, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 4:58pm

Last week saw the release of yet another independent report condemning the NSA's bulk collection of Americans' phone records. In its report, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) called for an end to the program, concluding that it…

How a Secret Court's Backwards Logic Opened the Floodgates for NSA Spying

How a Secret Court's Backwards Logic Opened the Floodgates for NSA Spying

By Patrick C. Toomey, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project & Brett Max Kaufman, Legal Fellow, ACLU National Security Project at 2:55pm

This was originally posted at The Guardian.

After yet another avalanche of documents showing how the NSA has spied on our communications for years, Americans should be asking, how did we get here?

The answer is simple: secrecy poisoned…

In Reversal, DOJ Poised to Give Notice of Warrantless Wiretapping

In Reversal, DOJ Poised to Give Notice of Warrantless Wiretapping

By Patrick C. Toomey, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 5:01pm

On Wednesday evening, the New York Times reported that for five years the Department of Justice had a policy that deprived criminal defendants of notice that they had been surveilled under the FISA Amendments Act (FAA) — the 2008 law that authorized…

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