FOIA

Government Confirms That It Has Secret Interpretation of Patriot Act Spy Powers

Government Confirms That It Has Secret Interpretation of Patriot Act Spy Powers

By Alex Abdo, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 12:59pm
The government has just officially confirmed what we've long suspected: there are secret Justice Department opinions about the Patriot Act's Section 215, which allows the government to get secret orders from a special surveillance court (the FISA Court) requiring Internet service providers and other companies to turn over "any tangible things." Just exactly what the government thinks that phrase means remains to be seen, but there are indications that their take on it is very broad.
DOJ Emails Show Feds Were Less Than "Explicit" With Judges On Cell Phone Tracking Tool

DOJ Emails Show Feds Were Less Than "Explicit" With Judges On Cell Phone Tracking Tool

By Linda Lye, Staff Attorney, ACLU of Northern California at 11:06am

(Update below)

A Justice Department document obtained by the ACLU of Northern California shows that federal investigators were routinely using a sophisticated cell phone tracking tool known as a "stingray," but hiding that fact from federal…

CIA: We Do Not "Concede or Not Concede" that Waterboarding is Illegal

CIA: We Do Not "Concede or Not Concede" that Waterboarding is Illegal

By Alex Abdo, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project & Mitra Ebadolahi, Border Litigation Staff Attorney, ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties at 1:45pm

On Friday, the ACLU appeared before the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York to argue that the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requires the CIA to release documents describing its use of waterboarding. The simple question at the heart of…

Bill to Stop Modern Day Slavery under Government Contracts

Bill to Stop Modern Day Slavery under Government Contracts

By Devon Chaffee, Legislative Policy Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:44pm

Last month the ACLU released a joint report with Yale Law School, Victims of Complacency, that documents the ongoing trafficking, forced labor and abuse of foreign workers hired through U.S. government contracts to work in support of U.S. military…

Government Increasingly Invoking National Security to Circumvent FOIA

Government Increasingly Invoking National Security to Circumvent FOIA

By Alex Abdo, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 5:23pm

The government is increasingly relying on a national security pretext to bolster its secrecy claims, an Associated Press report released yesterday reveals. Analysis conducted by the news agency shows that the Obama administration cited legal exemptions…

Manufacturing a “Black Separatist” Threat and Other Dubious Claims: Bias in Newly Released FBI Terrorism Training Materials

By Michael German, Senior Policy Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:31pm

In a throwback to the J. Edgar Hoover-era COINTELPRO investigations targeting civil rights and anti-war activists, the FBI is now training its agents to be on the lookout for "Black Separatist" terrorists, according to FBI training materials released today by the ACLU. These new disclosures, obtained through Freedom of Information Act litigation, are the latest in a growing flood of FBI training materials that include factually flawed and biased information.

FOIA Documents Show FBI Was Watching Occupy Protestors, Some Docs Still Secret on National Security Grounds

FOIA Documents Show FBI Was Watching Occupy Protestors, Some Docs Still Secret on National Security Grounds

By Linda Lye, Staff Attorney, ACLU of Northern California at 10:23am

Just shy of the one-year anniversary of the inaugural Occupy Wall Street protests, the ACLU of Northern California obtained initial documents from the FBI about surveillance of Occupy demonstrations in the region (see the FBI’s response here).

The…

The Government’s Pseudo-Secrecy Snow Job on Targeted Killing

The Government’s Pseudo-Secrecy Snow Job on Targeted Killing

By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 11:59am

Just before a midnight deadline on Wednesday, the government filed its legal brief responding to the ACLU’s Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking information about the legal and factual basis for the deaths of three U.S. citizens in targeted…

National Security Letters: A Little Less Secret?

National Security Letters: A Little Less Secret?

By Alex Abdo, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project & Hannah Mercuris at 4:37pm

The government’s surveillance of Americans in the name of national security remains overwhelmingly secret. Some of the secrecy is legitimate, but much of it is not.   The ACLU has been chipping away at secrecy and “gag order”…

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