Taking Liberties: The War on Terror and the Erosion of American Democracy

Paperback | February 10, 2014

bySusan N. Herman

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In this eye-opening work, the president of the ACLU takes a hard look at the human and social costs of the War on Terror. A decade after 9/11, it is far from clear that the government's hastily adopted antiterrorist tactics - such as the Patriot Act - are keeping us safe, but it isincreasingly clear that these emergency measures in fact have the potential to ravage our lives - and have already done just that to countless Americans. From the Oregon lawyer falsely suspected of involvement with terrorism in Spain to the former University of Idaho football player arrested on the pretext that he was needed as a "material witness" (though he was never called to testify), this book is filled with unsettling stories of ordinary peoplecaught in the government's dragnet. These are not just isolated mistakes in an otherwise sound program, but demonstrations of what can happen when our constitutional protections against government abuse are abandoned. Whether it's running a chat room, contributing to a charity, or even urging aterrorist group to forego its violent tactics, activities that should be protected by the First Amendment can now lead to prosecution. Blacklists and watchlists keep people grounded at airports and strand American citizens abroad, although these lists are rife with errors--errors that cannot bechallenged. National Security Letters allow the FBI to demand records about innocent people from libraries, financial institutions, and internet service providers without ever going to court. Government databanks now brim with information about every aspect of our private lives, while efforts tomount legal challenges to these measures have been stymied. Barack Obama, like George W. Bush, relies on secrecy and exaggerated claims of presidential prerogative to keep the courts and Congress from fully examining whether these laws and policies are constitutional, effective, or even counterproductive. Democracy itself is undermined. This book is awake-up call for all Americans, who remain largely unaware of the post-9/11 surveillance regime's insidious and continuing growth.

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In this eye-opening work, the president of the ACLU takes a hard look at the human and social costs of the War on Terror. A decade after 9/11, it is far from clear that the government's hastily adopted antiterrorist tactics - such as the Patriot Act - are keeping us safe, but it isincreasingly clear that these emergency measures in fac...

Susan N. Herman became president of the American Civil Liberties Union in 2008 after serving on its national board for twenty years. A constitutional scholar and chaired professor at Brooklyn Law School, she is the co-editor (with Paul Finkelman) of Terrorism, Government, and Law and the author of The Right to a Speedy and Public Tria...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:296 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.68 inPublished:February 10, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199360820

ISBN - 13:9780199360826

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Table of Contents

IntroductionPART I: DRAGNETS AND WATCHLISTS1. The Webmaster and the Football PlayerThe Material Support DragnetThe Football PlayerThe Material Support and Material Witness Dragnets2. "Foreign Terrorist Organizations," Humanitarians, and the First AmendmentThe Iranian DemocratPeacemakers and Humanitarians3. Charity at HomeThe Campaign against CharitiesCollateral Damage to Freedom of Religion and Association4. Traveling with TerrorWatching the WatchlistsSecurity Theater?The Rights of Others5. Banks and DatabanksFinancial Institutions as TIPStersWatchlists and the Private SectorDoes It Work?Collecting the DotsWhy Should I Care? - Privacy and DemocracyPART II: SURVEILLANCE AND SECRECY6. Gutting the Fourth AmendmentThe Fourth Amendment and Terrorism"Foreign" Intelligence Surveillance, Americans, and the Patriot ActMayfield v. United States Part IIThe Secret Court and the One-Sided LitigationA Job for Congress and the Courts7. The Patriot Act and Library/Business RecordsAmerican LibrariansJudicial FumblingThird Party Records and the Fourth AmendmentReconsidering the "Library Provision"8. Gagging the LibrariansThe Library ConnectionOther Librarian Tales9. John Doe and the National Security LetterWhy National Security Letters?John Doe and Victor MarreroLoosening the GagFourth Amendment Rights for NSL RecipientsFirst Amendment Rights for Internet UsersThe Inspector General Exposes 2007-2010National Security Letters, the Fourth Amendment, and Congress10. The President's Surveillance ProgramIn the Halls of the Department of JusticeThe Rubber Stamp CongressClosing the Courthouse DoorsPost-FAA LitigationThe Secret Court Strikes Again"What Else Is It That We Don't Know?"PART III: RESTORING CHECKS AND BALANCES11. American Democracy - The President, the Congress, and the CourtsThe View from the Oval Office - From Bush to Obama and BeyondThe Sleeping WatchdogSecrecy and the CourtsThe Eclipse of the CourtsConclusionOrdinary AmericansRestoring Balance