Government Oversight

What Powers Does the Civil Liberties Oversight Board Have?

What Powers Does the Civil Liberties Oversight Board Have?

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 9:28am
At a time when the Snowden revelations have focused new attention on the question of oversight over our giant national security establishment, many are closely watching the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB). The PCLOB is a brand new organization and still quite small, but it holds great promise as a truly independent mechanism for much-needed oversight over the national security state. In coming months and years, we will see whether it is able to live up to that potential.
From the Land of the Liberty Bell: Investigate the NSA

From the Land of the Liberty Bell: Investigate the NSA

By Andy Hoover, Legislative Director, ACLU of Pennsylvania at 12:30pm

Here in Pennsylvania, we have a full-time legislature, so as the lobbyist for the Pennsylvania affiliate of the ACLU, I have plenty of opportunities for face time with state legislators and staff. Since June, I've been hearing a similar refrain repeatedly:…

The USA FREEDOM Act is Real Spying Reform

The USA FREEDOM Act is Real Spying Reform

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:11am

Over the last several months, members of Congress have introduced at least two dozen spying reform and transparency bills. Today, a new proposal called the USA FREEDOM Act from Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) was introduced…

Is the Security State Mainly Looking Out For Us, Or For Itself? Two Paradigms Compared

Is the Security State Mainly Looking Out For Us, Or For Itself? Two Paradigms Compared

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:04am

Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing has generated much debate within the United States over whether his leaking of NSA documents was a heroic act or something deserving of punishment. And the NSA activities that he has revealed have similarly generated…

No NSA Poster Child: The Real Story of 9/11 Hijacker Khalid al-Mihdhar

No NSA Poster Child: The Real Story of 9/11 Hijacker Khalid al-Mihdhar

By Mike German, Senior Policy Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:05am

This story originally appeared at Defense One.

Since whistleblower Edward Snowden exposed the incredible scope of the government’s domestic spying programs, two different narratives are moving forward in Congress.

One, expressed…

On the Prospect of Blackmail by the NSA

On the Prospect of Blackmail by the NSA

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 11:47am

Sometimes when I hear public officials speaking out in defense of NSA spying, I can’t help thinking, even if just for a moment, “what if the NSA has something on that person and that’s why he or she is saying this?”

Of course it’s…

The NSA Can Only Spy With A Little Help From Its Feds

The NSA Can Only Spy With A Little Help From Its Feds

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 2:51pm

This week the ACLU published a damning report chronicling the many ways the FBI has abused post-9/11 authorities to spy on everyday Americans. As we noted, the FBI is even enmeshed in the broad suspicionless NSA dragnet of American phone calls.

One…

A Call for FBI Reform

A Call for FBI Reform

By Matthew Harwood, Media Strategist, ACLU at 12:00pm

Early this summer, the Guardian published a monster story. According to a document it obtained from a government whistleblower...

The National Security State: Why it’s Important to Understand the Nature of the Beast

The National Security State: Why it’s Important to Understand the Nature of the Beast

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 3:48pm

In two recent posts I argued that it is useful to think of the national security establishment as a thoughtless organism prone to certain predictable behaviors such as self-preservation, expansion, and secrecy. But what are the policy implications,…

TOMORROW: NSA to Release FISA Court Opinions to ACLU

TOMORROW: NSA to Release FISA Court Opinions to ACLU

By Alex Abdo, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 10:07am

Last week, an impressive array of individuals and organizations filed briefs in support of the ACLU's challenge to the massive surveillance program under which the NSA keeps a record of every phone call made or received in the United States. You can…

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