Bloated Secret Intelligence Apparatus Poses Grave Civil Liberties Concerns, Says ACLU

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Claire O'Brien, (202) 675-2312; media@dcaclu.org
Rachel Myers, (212) 549-2689 or 2666; media@aclu.org

Bloated Secret Intelligence Apparatus Poses Grave Civil Liberties Concerns, Says ACLU

Group Responds to Washington Post Story With Call for Greater Oversight

NEW YORK - According
to the Washington Post today, the U.S. intelligence system, in the years
since 9/11, has become so massive and lacking in oversight that it is
impossible to know how effective it is. The America Civil Liberties
Union has long warned about the civil liberties implications of
expanding secret government intelligence programs without oversight.
 

In
2007, Congress created an independent Privacy and Civil Liberties
Oversight Board with some significant powers for overseeing
anti-terrorism efforts, but the Obama administration has failed thus far
to appoint anybody to that board.
 

The
following can be attributed to Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU
Washington Legislative Office:

 

"At a
time when the government should be focusing on creating policies that
protect our civil liberties and make us safer, it is alarming that it is
instead expanding a secretive system that does neither. We should be
focusing our limited resources on national security policies that are
proven effective, not throwing money at agencies and policies that
provide little more than a band-aid solution.
 

"It is
vital that Congress and the administration act to greatly increase the
transparency and oversight of what the Post calls ‘Top Secret
America.' Congress and the administration must recognize the importance
of solving these problems, rather than presiding over the creation of a
permanent, Kafkaesque intelligence establishment that continues to waste
money and erode our rights."
 

The
following can be attributed to Jameel Jaffer, Deputy Legal Director of
the ACLU:

 

"The
intelligence system that is supposed to protect the nation's security
now presents a grave threat to our liberties and our democracy. A
sprawling and largely unaccountable complex of government agencies and
private corporations now controls a huge amount of information about
ordinary Americans, monitors their telephone calls and emails and
administers a slew of secret watchlists. The unchecked growth of this
intelligence system is endangering the very fabric of American
democracy.      

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

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