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Aftermath so farUS Attorney, terrorism, al Qaeda, investigations, crimes, security, Qaeda

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Exporting rights abuses?

A report on Europe's anti terrorism measures have robed citizens of basic privacy rights, this undermines security. Thomas Hammarberg, the Council of Europe's commissioner for human rights said "In the war on terror, the notion of privacy has been altered," he noted "surveillance, harassment, discrimination, arrest or worse,". The report also said "This robs targeted individuals of fundamental safeguards, leads to alienation of the groups in question and thus actually undermines security," (1 ).

Back on the "homefront"

According to memos the former Bush administration hoped to allow the military to search, detain or bring civilians trial without Congress's input(2 ).

Another memo dated Oct. 23, 2001 called "Memorandum Regarding Authority for Use of Military Force to Combat Terrorist Activities within the United States", would allow US Military to operate on US Soil and it was felt that this would not violate Posse Comitatus Act (3 ).

Some change/some the same

Early in 2009 President Obama's administration dropped the use of the term "enemy combatant". But this change meant little to the people held in places like Guantanamo Bay (4 ).

In keeping with transparency President signed an Executive Order to create the National Declassification Center. The goal of this is to help declassify secret documents. Obama instructed the government not to keep Secrets forever and eliminated the ability of an agency official to veto declassification decisions (5 ).

Still the Obama administration defended the Bush administration decisions to keep many documents secret. These documents covered about domestic wiretapping, data collection on travelers and U.S. citizens, and interrogation of suspected terrorists (6 ).

Obama's Attorney General Eric Holder sent out a memo in early 2009 that reversed FOIA guidelines that had been in place since Oct. 12, 2001. Holder said in a statement "By restoring the presumption of disclosure that is at the heart of the Freedom of Information Act, we are making a critical change that will restore the public's ability to access information in a timely manner. The American people have the right to information about their government's activities, and these new guidelines will ensure they are able to obtain that information under principles of openness and transparency." (7 ).


I mention something, called Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that is mentioned here. FISA passed congress in 1978, and it established Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The courts duties are oversight matters related to of electronic surveillance related to intelligence and counterintelligence operation. The court is composed of US federal district court judges appointed by the chief justice, and their membership on the court rotates. Because of the secret nature of this court it wasn't intended for criminal proceedings (8 ).

The FISA Amendments Act (FISAAA) gives telecommunications retroactive immunity to companies under President Bush's warrantless wiretapping. The State Secrets Privilege was used to shield the Bush administration electronic surveillance activity from judicial review. The REAL ID card Act requires Americans to carry a national ID card (9 ).

The "Protect America Act" expanded governmental authority to intercept international phone calls and emails and blocked lawsuits against telecommunication companies that helped in past spying efforts (10).


US Attorney, terrorism, al Qaeda, investigations, crimes, security, Qaeda