Raise your voice on Bill of Rights DayFriday, December 13, 2013 at 8:44 pm by Adwoa Masozi
Whistleblower reports have offered insight into the remarkable breadth of domestic surveillance by the National Security Agency (NSA), as well as other federal, state, and local agencies. The vast majority of Americans monitored by domestic spy programs are not suspected of any crime, yet are pervasively watched nonetheless. You and your neighbors are being monitored in your workplaces, schools, houses of faith, homes, and political gathering spaces. The targets include professionals, community leaders, and even elected officials—whose complicity in the erosion of your civil liberties is alarming.
BORDC executive director Shahid Buttar has challenged NSA surveillance since the program was first revealed by the New York Times in 2005, and particularly criticized the 2008 FISA Amendments that enabled the abuses more recently revealed by Edward Snowden. Reflecting on that era more recently, he wrote:
Since first taking office in 2009, the Obama administration has repeatedly extended the USA PATRIOT Act, including the overbroad section 215 cited as the basis for the FBI surveillance approved by the secret order disclosed by The Guardian. In light of Congress’ recent decision to extend the law permitting even worse abuses by the NSA for another five years, and the Supreme Court’s outrageous decision in Clapper v. Amnesty Int’l turning a blind eye to dragnet domestic surveillance, the document is also a clarion call for both mass outrage and immediate congressional action for long overdue sunlight at the National Security Agency.
The absence of meaningful oversight by the Senate and House Intelligence Committees, and the FISA Court, has sparked widespread outrage throughout the nation. Congress has been forced to respond, introducing more than 30 pieces of legislation to curtail NSA powers.
Even those measures, however, would fail to restrain other federal, state or local police and intelligence agencies. Moreover, the process is slow and could easily be co-opted by congressional dysfunction.
We cannot sit idly by while Congress and the courts treat warrantless mass surveillance as anything less than an ongoing and devastating threat to our Constitution and fundamental rights.
Over 70 years ago, President Franklin D. Roosevelt joined Congress in designating December 15 as national Bill of Rights Day. Looming just days away, it offers a brilliant opportunity to amplify your voice and focus your neighbors on your concerns about the constitutional crisis.
Over the past month, BORDC organized creative actions around the country. Actions are planned in Cleveland, and San Francisco in addition to others that have already happened in Oakland, Dallas, Charlotte, and suburban Washington, taking the call to “Close the NSA” to the NSA headquarters outside Ft. Meade, MD.
We invite you to participate in Bill of Rights Day, by raising your voice wherever you live. Do you want to “Close the NSA?” If so, please contact the BORDC organizing team so we can support you, and the BORDC communications team to help promote photos and video of your action.
Here’s a little inspiration for you to share.