Washington Markup

This Bill Is Mandating Perfect Border Security, Using Your Tax Dollars, Without a Plan.

This Bill Is Mandating Perfect Border Security, Using Your Tax Dollars, Without a Plan.

By Chris Rickerd, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 9:55am
Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, last year proposed a logical approach to border security: In rejecting measures to put the "cart" of border spending before the "horse" of measuring what resources are needed, he introduced legislation that, in his own words, "demands a plan, verified by outside experts, before one dollar is spent on new resources."
Too Classified for Congress? When It Comes to Congressional Oversight of Intelligence Activities, Transparency Should Always Triumph Over Secrecy

Too Classified for Congress? When It Comes to Congressional Oversight of Intelligence Activities, Transparency Should Always Triumph Over Secrecy

By Nathaniel J. Turner, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:11pm

Tomorrow the House of Representatives will have a choice to make: openness and transparency, or secrecy and business as usual. From NSA surveillance to CIA torture, congressional oversight of intelligence activities over the last decade has been inadequate.…

A Rare Glimpse of Bipartisanship on Open Government

A Rare Glimpse of Bipartisanship on Open Government

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 2:50pm

So this “lame duck” Congress may not be so lame after all – at least when it comes to increasing government transparency. On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee is set to consider a bipartisan measure that, while modest, would be one…

Stalling on Surveillance Reform Could Cost the GOP

Stalling on Surveillance Reform Could Cost the GOP

By Neema Singh Guliani, ACLU Legislative Counsel at 3:07pm

NSA reform could be the thorn in the side of the Republican Party next year.

Right now, there is a viable, bipartisan bill called the USA Freedom Act that would limit government spying on Americans and has received support from members of both…

Countering Violent Extremism: Time for the Administration to Get It Right

Countering Violent Extremism: Time for the Administration to Get It Right

By Zak Newman, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:07pm

Today President Obama took the unusual step of chairing a meeting of the U.N. Security Council. He went seeking international support for the campaign against the group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), including a U.S.-sponsored…

Fearmongering NSA Reform

Fearmongering NSA Reform

By Neema Singh Guliani, ACLU Legislative Counsel at 1:07pm

On June 5, 2013, Edward Snowden shocked the world, providing proof that Americans were being spied on by their own government. Some praised him as a hero, others condemned him as a traitor, but there was general consensus that the NSA had severely…

The U.S. Government Can Brand You a Terrorist Based on a Facebook Post. We Can't Let Them Make up the Rules.

The U.S. Government Can Brand You a Terrorist Based on a Facebook Post. We Can't Let Them Make up the Rules.

By Arjun Sethi, ACLU at 12:17pm

This piece originally appeared at the Guardian's Comment is Free. 

The US government's web of surveillance is vast and interconnected. Now we know just how opaque, inefficient and discriminatory it can be.

As we were reminded again…

113th Congress - S. 2685 - USA Freedom Act

Are We Getting Fooled on Surveillance Reform?

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 2:36pm

This piece originally appeared on the Monkey Cage blog at washingtonpost.com.

Last week, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) introduced a revamped national security surveillance reform bill called the USA Freedom Act. Most privacy and civil liberties…

What Crack Cocaine Teaches Us About NSA Reform

What Crack Cocaine Teaches Us About NSA Reform

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:41am

This piece originally ran at POLITICO Magazine.

This week, Patrick Leahy, the Democratic senator from Vermont, introduced a revised version of the USA Freedom Act, a bill to finally start pulling the reins on America's out-of-control surveillance…

NSA Congress

House Tees Up Surveillance Reform for Senate

By Neema Singh Guliani, ACLU Legislative Counsel at 5:10pm

For the second time in just one month, late last night the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed legislation – this time as an amendment to an appropriations bill that will now move to the Senate – aimed at reining in NSA abuse.

In…