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Civil Liberties

The Philosophy of NSA Surveillance

Sophia Cope | Posted 09.18.2013 | Politics
Sophia Cope

What kind of society do we want to live in? That's the philosophical question at the heart of the debate about the National Security Agency collecting call logs and Internet content on millions of Americans in the name of finding terrorists.

Restoring the Balance Between Privacy and Security

Leslie Harris | Posted 09.09.2013 | Politics
Leslie Harris

Twelve years after 9/11, One WTC became the tallest building in America. In the same time, another edifice has arisen from 9/11's ashes, a looming, largely unaccountable national security state. Rather than a soaring tower to our free society, it is a monument to secrecy, diminished democracy, and lost Fourth Amendment rights.

The Democracy Gap: Receding or Reseeding Democracy Depends on Your Point of View

Ralph Singh | Posted 09.08.2013 | Politics
Ralph Singh

Perhaps our great society is no longer a full house, but a house of cards -- a bluff that has allowed those in power (holding the cards and the dealers) to rake in money from players who can barely afford to sit at the table. Maybe it's time to change the game, or at least ask, "What price am I willing to pay for liberty and what price am I willing to pay for security?"

NSA Controversy Reveals Need for Greater Public Discourse to Prevent Future Abuses

Lee H. Hamilton | Posted 09.07.2013 | Politics
Lee H. Hamilton

Concerns over national security will continue to be paramount. Yet I believe that far more information about these surveillance programs can be made available to the American public without compromising sensitive intelligence.

A Letter From Guantanamo

Abdelhadi Faraj | Posted 09.01.2013 | Politics
Abdelhadi Faraj

This is my call to the outside world from behind these rusty bars, in this monstrous cell. The past few months have been among the harshest lived by the prisoners here. Does the world know what is happening in this prison?

Will More Video Surveillance Cameras Make Us Any Safer?

Ginny Sloan | Posted 08.28.2013 | Crime
Ginny Sloan

In the wake of the Boston marathon bombing, Boston Police Commissioner Davis has called for more surveillance cameras, and press accounts report new calls for cameras from Richmond, Virginia to San Francisco.

Snowden Is Not the Story

Mary L. G. Theroux | Posted 08.27.2013 | Politics
Mary L. G. Theroux

Had Deep Throat been made the story in 1972, Nixon, Haldeman, John Mitchell and the ill-fated gang would likely have served out their terms, passing along intact a network for spying on Americans that spells doom for liberty.

Courts and (Neo)Vouchers: When (if Ever) Should We Be Surprised?

Kevin Welner | Posted 08.26.2013 | Politics
Kevin Welner

Lawyers who designed the neovoucher approach were doing what lawyers are hired to do: to find a work-around that will allow their clients to follow a desired path notwithstanding a law intended to block that path.

When (Neo)Voucher Advocates Lose

Kevin Welner | Posted 08.21.2013 | Politics
Kevin Welner

The court applied the no-aid clause to find that a voucher system cannot fund private schools, whether set up with direct funding or through a tax credit scheme.

National Security Über Alles?

Christopher Holshek | Posted 08.20.2013 | Politics
Christopher Holshek

When a government, in a blanket sense, views its citizens as potential or suspected criminals, or enemies of the state as the growth of Boston-like domestic terrorism may portend, then it is in a perpetual state of conflict with its own people.

The Transparency Prism

Pierre Guerlain | Posted 08.19.2013 | World
Pierre Guerlain

When a Chinese dissident breaks an illegitimate Chinese law the West applauds. When an American whistleblower reveals hidden crimes the accomplices of these crimes cry foul. Transparency in political matters is claimed only when the other has something to hide.

Rand Paul Says Someone Should Have Been Fired 9/11 Intelligence Failures

The Huffington Post | Danielle Schlanger | Posted 06.19.2013 | Politics

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) blasted the Bush administration and former Vice President Dick Cheney on CNN’s "The Situation Room" Tuesday evening, blaming ...

The Most Dangerous Terrorists Don't Have Verizon Accounts

Steve Nelson | Posted 08.18.2013 | Politics
Steve Nelson

Edward Snowden -- hero or traitor? The 29-year-old Snowden has aroused as sharp a divide in opinion as any in recent memory. But focusing on Snowden is an unfortunate distraction. The real issue is the NSA data gathering programs he disclosed.

Activism Taps Big-Time Crowdfunding

Kevin Lawton | Posted 06.18.2013 | World
Kevin Lawton

Activism has long suffered the same curse as does the starving artist -- so much heart and so little capital. Until recently, that is. Tapping crowdfunding in a big way, activism has re-emerged in a bigger, bolder form.

David Brooks, Tom Friedman, Bill Keller Wish Snowden Had Just Followed Orders

Norman Solomon | Posted 08.17.2013 | Politics
Norman Solomon

Edward Snowden is transcending the moral limits of authority and insisting that we can fully defend the Bill of Rights, emphatically including the Fourth Amendment. What a contrast with New York Times columnists David Brooks, Thomas Friedman and Bill Keller.

Zach Carter

House Intelligence Committee's NSA Talking Points | Zach Carter | Posted 06.13.2013 | Politics

WASHINGTON -- The Huffington Post has obtained talking points instructing members of Congress on how to defend two controversial surveillance programs...

NSA Surveillance Is Legal, and That's the Worst Thing About It

Leighton Woodhouse | Posted 08.12.2013 | Politics
Leighton Woodhouse

One of the most disturbing realities the surveillance revelations have brought into relief is that in its drive to safeguard national security, the Obama Administration has concocted tactics that draw a sharp line dividing the state and the public, casting the latter in the role of potential conspirator.

Playing the Obama Bumper Sticker Game

Jeff Cohen | Posted 08.12.2013 | Politics
Jeff Cohen

There's no easier way to gauge the disappointment that liberals and progressives should feel toward President Obama than to look at their cars -- more specifically, their bumper stickers.

What's All the Fuss About?

Bruce Hartford | Posted 08.11.2013 | Politics
Bruce Hartford

Now government agencies have all this data revealing all these personal patterns. Can a prosecutor subpoena them? What about a divorce attorney? Might State's Attorney Nogoodnick who's in a tight reelection race ask his agency buddies for some inside dope on his opponent?

The Precarious State of Our Civil Liberties

Matthew Dunn | Posted 08.11.2013 | Politics
Matthew Dunn

What worries me about programs like the NSA's PRISM is that human judgment comes into play too far down the line. Vast computers are collecting electronic communications data, and, by extension, data on people, and it is possible that millions of those people are law-abiding Americans.

'Endless Wars Overseas, Infringing on Civil Liberties at Home': An Interview on NSA Surveillance With Former State Department Official Matthew Hoh

Leighton Woodhouse | Posted 08.11.2013 | Politics
Leighton Woodhouse

"We shouldn't be surprised that a government establishment that is not being held accountable or in check by any other institution, that is Byzantine in size, structure and purpose, and that receives 25 percent of all government funding is overreaching."

Ryan Grim

Divisions Over National Security State Scramble Old Alliances, Political Coalitions | Ryan Grim | Posted 06.11.2013 | Politics

WASHINGTON -- The contours of the debate around security and civil liberties that began the day after the 9/11 attacks have been steadily shifting eve...

That's Not What I Meant!

Radley Balko | Posted 08.11.2013 | Politics

Over at the New York Times, Adam Liptak interviews the Innocence Project's Peter Neufeld, who is none too pleased at the way Supreme Court Justice Ant...

Bernie Sanders On NSA Spying: We're Heading For An 'Orwellian Future'

Posted 06.11.2013 | Politics

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I.-Vt.) shared some impassioned criticism of NSA surveillance on MSNBC's "All In With Chris Hayes" Monday night. Sanders criti...

The Scariest NSA-Gate Lesson: 'Private Citizen' Is Now an Oxymoron

Michael Shammas | Posted 08.10.2013 | College
Michael Shammas

In 1882, sensing an emerging age of secularism, Friedrich Nietzsche famously wrote, "God is dead." History proved him wrong, but although God is not yet dead, something else sure as hell is: Privacy.