Senate Intelligence Committee Hearing on FISA Doesn’t Reveal Much

Posted by on September 27, 2013 in Blog

By Isaac Levey Legal Fellow

On Thursday, the Senate Intelligence Committee held a rare open hearing on proposals to reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA). The proposals arise from the ongoing controversy over the National Security Agency (NSA)’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden this summer. Testifying at the hearing from the Obama Administration were Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper; NSA Director Keith Alexander; and Deputy Attorney General James Cole. The nongovernmental witnesses were Benjamin Wittes, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution...

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The Circus Comes to Town

Posted on September 24, 2013 in Countdown
Welcome to the UNGA – where the rules are made up and the points don’t matter; where the world’s most contentious issues are arbitrated by the same countries that started them in the first place! The General Assembly kicks off this week with remarks from two potential and unlikely partners – Today, President Obama spoke to the General Assembly. Iran's new president Hassan Rouhani will take the stage later today.
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Surveillance Court Releases Decision Upholding Phone Records Collection

Posted by on September 23, 2013 in Blog
By Isaac Levey Legal Fellow Whatever you think is the right balance between liberty and safety, and just how much privacy we’re willing to give up in the name of fighting terrorism in the twenty-first century, all serious people should agree that we need to have these conversations out in the open. If we are willing to sacrifice our liberty for security, we should do it openly and democratically, not through a silent opinion by a secret court which only hears argument from one side. A functioning democracy � and a society composed of adults � needs to make these fundamental decisions in public.
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Adam Schiff Introduces Legislation to Reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court

Posted by on September 20, 2013 in Blog
Today, Adam Schiff (D-CA), a senior Member on the House Intelligence Committee introduced legislation to reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to allow for the appointment of an independent, public interest advocate. The bill “Ensuring Adversarial Process in the FISA Court Act,” allows non-governmental attorneys to participate before the FISC as “Public Interest Advocates” in proceedings before the Court.
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Please Speak Directly into the Key Fob

Posted by on August 29, 2013 in Blog
Next week, the Pulitzer Prize-winning AP reporters who broke the story about the NYPD surveillance program will be publishing a book. While much has been written about this insidious program, Enemies Within: Inside the NYPD’s Secret Spying Unit and bin Laden’s Final Plot Against America has still more unsettling surprises. The revelations of authors Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman show how the mindset behind development of the federal PRISM program, collecting data from citizens’ emails and phone conversations.
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A US - Islamist Exchange Program?

Posted on August 27, 2013 in Countdown
When Secretary of State Kerry spoke yesterday about the use of chemical weapons in Syria, he called their use a “moral obscenity” and alluded to the possibility of intervention—regardless of UN support—sooner rather than later. The chemical weapons attack that occurred just a few days ago is the deadliest attack since Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons on thousands of Kurds in Halabja 25 years ago.
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March on Washington: Arab Americans and the Civil Rights Movement

Posted by on August 26, 2013 in Blog
On Saturday, Arab American Institute Executive Director Maya Berry addressed tens of thousands of Americans from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The march on the National Mall drew crowds in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech, originally delivered on August 28, 1963.
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Calling it Like We See It

Posted on August 20, 2013 in Countdown
Though, in many respects, Arab American views toward Egypt’s continued unrest are in line with the deep division on the ground, we all agree the fighting must stop and that Egyptians themselves are the only ones who can carve out their own path forward.
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A Vote for the Amash Amendment is a Vote in Defense of the Constitution

Posted by on July 24, 2013 in Blog
The House of Representatives is currently debating the annual appropriations bill for the Department of Defense. Some of the most controversial amendments have been regarding Syria, Egypt, and the NSA’s surveillance programs. After a considerable delay, the House Rules Committee decided earlier this week that Congressman Amash’s (R-MI) DoD Appropriations amendment was in order and will get a vote.
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Mos Def YouTube Video Sheds Light on Inhumanity of Force-Feeding at Gitmo

Posted by on July 11, 2013 in Blog
Inhumane treatment continues at Guantanamo Bay, where over 100 of the 166 prisoners detained there are in the midst of a hunger strike. Some have been fasting for over 100 days. The number of those currently being force-fed has reached at least a quarter of the total population of the prison, over 40 people. Seeking to raise awareness about the plight of these prisoners, rapper and MC Yasiin Bey, aka Mos Def, underwent the standard operating procedure for force-feeding used in the detention center.
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