Today, @BrennanCenter is launching “9/11 at 20”—a series of ten essays offering a high-level critique of national security policies over the past two decades and a vision for our country’s approach to national security in the future. 1/5
The essays address a range of issues, from racial profiling to secret wars to the future of the Department of Homeland Security. The authors include past and present members of Congress, former senior executive branch officials, legal scholars, and Brennan Center experts. 2/5
The first two essays, posted today, include a call from former senator and current @ACSlaw president @RussFeingold for Congress to reclaim its role as an equal branch of government in national security policy… 3/5…
…and an essay from my colleague @FaizaPatelBCJ making the case for eliminating the “national security” exception in government policies that ban racial and religious profiling. 4/5…
We’ll be adding essays each week between now and 9/11, so keep an eye on @BrennanCenter’s website for forward-looking takes on government secrecy, surveillance, the role of courts, domestic terrorism, economic sanctions, and more. 5/5

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More from @LizaGoitein

20 Jul
Today, @ChrisMurphyCT, @SenMikeLee, and @SenSanders unveiled the National Security Powers Act (NSPA), a bill that would begin to correct the power imbalance between the president and Congress on key issues of war and peace. 1/18…
The bill has three parts. The first part would inject life back into the War Powers Resolution, a 1973 law that was meant to constrain presidential warmaking but has utterly failed to do so. 2/18
The WPR required presidents to notify Congress when U.S. military forces are engaged (or will likely become engaged) in “hostilities.” It mandated an end to such hostilities within 60 days if Congress did not authorize them. 3/18
Read 18 tweets
1 Jul
Anyone who is concerned about government surveillance practices should stop whatever they’re doing and read this statement by Travis LeBlanc, a member of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (@PCLOB_GOV). 1/19…
His statement, released with redactions after the gov’t performed a declassification review, is a devastating takedown of the PCLOB's classified 2020 report on “XKEYSCORE,” a tool the NSA uses to process communications obtained without a warrant under Executive Order 12333. 2/19
The NSA doesn’t need a warrant to conduct surveillance under EO 12333 because the data is collected overseas and Americans can't be targeted. But no one denies that EO 12333 surveillance “incidentally” sweeps up Americans’ communications and data, likely in massive amounts. 3/19
Read 19 tweets
27 Apr
Another day, another FISA Court opinion approving a program that sweeps up millions of Americans’ communications, despite finding that the FBI has failed to comply with the rules meant to protect Americans’ privacy. 1/25…
To refresh your recollection, here’s my Tweet thread on the last FISC opinion (issued Dec. 2019) approving Section 702 surveillance in the face of widespread violations of privacy rules by the FBI and NSA: 2/25
Basically, the 2019 opinion chided the government for its violations, but the court approved the surveillance on the condition that the government implement new training and record-keeping requirements…3/25
Read 25 tweets
3 Apr
This statement by two PCLOB members suggests that PCLOB decided to abandon its original plan to conduct oversight of EO 12333 apart from its three "deep dives." In other words, they're not pretending the April 2 report constitutes EO 12333 oversight. 1/5…
I suppose it's good that they recognize that. But why did only two members join this statement? The report itself should clearly state that PCLOB decided against pursuing a general EO 12333 oversight project, and the report is intended merely as an explainer for laypersons. 2/5
Moreover, PCLOB apparently concluded that a "very broad oversight review" of EO 12333 would be too resource-intensive. That might be true. But there are certainly discrete questions PCLOB could have explored (and still could!) that would produce enormous value... 3/5
Read 5 tweets
2 Apr
The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) has issued its long-awaited “capstone report” on Executive Order 12333, which was six years in the making. All I can say is: what a colossal disappointment. 1/18…
PCLOB can create value in two main ways: (1) by disclosing information about counterterrorism programs/practices that wasn’t previously public, and (2) by assessing the civil liberties implications of CT programs/practice and making recommendations. 2/18
PBLOB’s 2014 reports on the NSA’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records (the “Section 215 report”) and on Section 702 surveillance served both functions. The EO 12333 “capstone” report serves neither. 3/18
Read 18 tweets
20 Jan
One of President Biden’s Day One executive orders terminates the national emergency declaration Trump used to circumvent Congress and divert military construction funds to build the border wall. 1/6
The declaration was a shameful abuse of power on many levels. It cited a fake emergency to sidestep Congress’s constitutional authority for the purpose of implementing a racist policy. 2/6
Terminating the emergency is step one. Step two is for President Biden to work with Congress to ensure that no future president can do what Trump did. Because Trump will not be the last president to succumb to the temptation of emergency powers. 3/6
Read 6 tweets

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