This morning, I started to research Barack Obama’s nominees to watchdog civil liberties through the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, and what I found about nominee Rachel Brand wasn’t pretty. As one of the members of the Bush administration in the Justice Department specializing in legal policy regarding the “War on Terror,” Brand repeatedly declared in 2005 that there had been no verified violations of any provision of the Patriot Act.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation didn’t buy it, and so their legal team pushed for and eventually won the release of more than 2,500 pages of internal Justice Department paperwork, showing that during the Bush years there were approximately 7,000 violations of just one provision of the Patriot Act alone, reported by just one agency of the Justice Department. In euphemistic Washington Beltwayspeak, what Rachel Brand told the country about Patriot Act abuses was at variance with the truth.
I wouldn’t have been able to check Rachel Brand’s assertions against observable reality if reality had remained unobservable. The EFF’s legal work was essential to exposing the lie of a civil liberties-compliant Patriot Act. Is that worth a donation? You betcha. Every time that we sell one of our sweatshop-free liberal t-shirts, we pledge to donate a dollar to a good domestic political cause — and we’re happy to send a donation to the EFF to satisfy that pledge. If you’ve got a few samoleans to spare and care about civil liberties protection, feed the watchdog. Donate to EFF.