Department Of Justice

Justice Department's Overreaching on Leaks Threatens Freedom of the Press

Justice Department's Overreaching on Leaks Threatens Freedom of the Press

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:54pm

A week after the Department of Justice notified the Associated Press that it had secretly seized records for more than 20 phone lines...

FBI Documents Suggest Feds Read Emails Without a Warrant

FBI Documents Suggest Feds Read Emails Without a Warrant

By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:31am

New documents from the FBI and U.S. Attorneys’ offices paint a troubling picture of the government’s email surveillance practices. Not only does the FBI claim it can read emails and other electronic communications without a warrant—even after a federal appeals court ruled that doing so violates the Fourth Amendment—but the documents strongly suggest that different U.S. Attorneys’ offices around the country are applying conflicting standards to access communications content (you can see the documents here).

Last month, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, the ACLU received IRS documents indicating that the agency’s criminal investigative arm doesn’t always get a warrant to read Americans’ emails. Today we are releasing these additional documents from other federal law enforcement agencies, reinforcing the urgent need for Congress to protect our privacy by updating the laws that cover electronic communications.

The FBI and Electronic Communications: Where’s the Warrant?

The documents we received from the FBI don’t flat out tell us whether FBI agents always get warrants, but they strongly suggest that they don’t.

In 2010, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decided in United States v. Warshak that the government must obtain a probable cause warrant before compelling email providers to turn over messages to law enforcement. But that decision only applies in the four states covered by the Sixth Circuit, so we filed our FOIA request to find out whether the FBI

Common Ground on Campaign Finance

Common Ground on Campaign Finance

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:46am

Earlier this week, a Senate Judiciary subcommittee, chaired by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), held a hearing on campaign finance law enforcement. We submitted comments highlighting a few areas of common ground between the ACLU and proponents of…

Thanks to John Brennan, a Big and Bipartisan Pushback Against the Vast Killing Program

Thanks to John Brennan, a Big and Bipartisan Pushback Against the Vast Killing Program

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Chris Anders, Senior Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:46pm

Just two months ago, when President Obama nominated the architect of his vast killing program, John Brennan, to be CIA Director...

Hey Congress: Make the Sun Shine on the Targeted Killing Memos For All to See

Hey Congress: Make the Sun Shine on the Targeted Killing Memos For All to See

By Matthew Harwood, Media Strategist, ACLU at 2:53pm

During his State of the Union Address a few weeks back, President Obama promised:

[I]n the months ahead, I will continue to engage Congress to ensure not only that our targeting, detention and prosecution of terrorists remains consistent…

Blocked Leaks Bill More About Message Discipline Than National Security

Blocked Leaks Bill More About Message Discipline Than National Security

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 6:36pm

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) deserves significant credit for placing a hold today on a draft intelligence spending bill that would place enormous new obstacles in the path of journalists trying to report on government illegality, fraud and waste in the intelligence…

Tuesday: Federal Appeals Court Hears Important Cell Phone Tracking Case

Tuesday: Federal Appeals Court Hears Important Cell Phone Tracking Case

By Chris Soghoian, Principal Technologist and Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at 3:05pm

Tomorrow, the Department of Justice will tell a federal appeals court panel in New Orleans that law enforcement agents should be permitted to obtain two month’s worth of historical cell phone location information without a warrant. Several civil…

New Justice Department Documents Show Huge Increase in Warrantless Electronic Surveillance

New Justice Department Documents Show Huge Increase in Warrantless Electronic Surveillance

By Naomi Gilens, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 1:32pm

Justice Department documents released today by the ACLU reveal that federal law enforcement agencies are increasingly monitoring Americans’ electronic communications, and doing so without warrants, sufficient oversight, or meaningful accountability.

The…

Torture with Impunity

Torture with Impunity

By Zachary Katznelson, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 5:33pm

Yesterday, a dark chapter in American history got that much more disgraceful. Attorney General Holder announced the closure of the last two open criminal inquiries into abusive interrogations by CIA officials. The pronouncement means that…

DOJ Closes CIA Torture Investigation With No Criminal Charges

DOJ Closes CIA Torture Investigation With No Criminal Charges

By Ateqah Khaki at 5:39pm

The Justice Department has finished sweeping the crimes of the Bush administration under the rug. Senior officials developed and implemented an interrogation program that subjected prisoners to abuse that clearly violated the law by any measure. But…

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