Over the years, Patrick Leahy has been an ineffective champion for the effort to bring America’s surveillance machine back under control. A new, more simple tactic is needed: Total, permanent repeal of the Patriot Act and FISA Amendments Act. [...]
It is a time of fear in the face of freedom, a time of an emptying country and swelling cities, a time for the widening of previous roads and the opening of new paths, yet a time when these paths are mined by knowing algorithms of the all-seeing eye. It is the time of the warrior's peace and the miser's charity, when the planting of a seed is an act of conscientious objection. These are the times when maps fade, old landmarks crumble and direction is lost. Forwards is backwards now, so we glance sideways at the strange lands through which we are all passing, knowing for certain only that our destination has disappeared. We are unready to meet these times, but we proceed nonetheless, adapting as we wander, reshaping the Earth with every tread. Behind us we have left the old times, the standard times, the high times. Welcome to the irregular times.
Yesterday, a lone member of the United States Senate introduced legislation that would formally outlaw the already unconstitutional government practice of using aerial drones to spy on Americans without a warrant. The text of S. 1016, the “Preserving Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act of 2013,” is not formally available yet, but it corresponds to last [...]
From 2000 to 2012, 53% of legislators who uttered the phrase “collateral damage” in the Congressional Record were Republicans, and 47% Democrats. The person who uttered the phrase “collateral damage” the most during that time was Republican Rep. John Gingrey — most likely known to you as “Phil” Gingrey. In the current election cycle, the [...]
On December 20, 2011 — three years late — President Barack Obama finally obeyed the law that requires him to nominate members for all five positions on the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB). For three long years the PCLOB has been absolutely empty, inactive and defunct.
This means that nobody has been [...]
It took President Obama three long years, but finally in December of 2011 he obeyed the law and finished putting all five nominees into consideration for appointment to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. This is an important task for Obama to have completed, because the PCLOB has special powers to protect American freedoms: [...]
For 1,060 days of his presidency, Barack Obama refused to nominate enough members of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight board to constitute a quorum. That made it impossible for the PCLOB to carry out its legally-mandated job of collecting information on civil liberties violations by the executive branch of government and sharing that information [...]
Over the last decade, the Patriot Act has allowed a wide net of surveillance, search and seizure to be cast over the United States, purposefully targeting innocent people not even suspected of criminal activity. The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits that, but the government has proceeded regardless. Documents show that the powers [...]
On May 4 2011, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy made one final check with President Barack Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder to make sure that S. 193, a bill considered by civil libertarians to be a meager improvement of the Patriot Act with imperfect reforms, was to the Obama administration’s liking.
S. 193 was [...]
At Thursday’s markup of Patriot Act reauthorization, Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont nearly blew his top when responding to a Republican Senator who said the government shouldn’t have to show someone was a terrorism or spying associate or suspect before nabbing their papers, communications, or property without a the probable cause warrant specified in the [...]
In Thursday’s Senate Judiciary Committee’s markup of a bill to reauthorize the Patriot Act, Senator Patrick Leahy tried to insert an amendment. The amendment would allow the government to obtain records of book sales that do not meet the Constitution’s requirement that there be probable cause to believe the target has committed a crime. Instead, [...]
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