ACLU’s Poker Face

Thus far, I have not seen a statement from the ACLU on last night’s developments with respect to the PATRIOT Act — the passage of cloture, McConnell’s failure to even ask for an immediate vote, followed by McConnell filing several amendments that would weaken USA F-ReDux. [Correction: here is one. h/t EG]

Indeed, no one even seems to be interested what the ACLU thinks about all this, reporting the key players to include Mitch McConnell and Richard Burr, the White House and Intelligence Agencies, and the House, especially House leadership that would be forced to shepherd any changes to USA F-ReDux back through the House, but not the ACLU.

I’m interested.

Especially with Burr’s amendment to extend the transition period to the new phone records program to a full year. After all, ACLU’s lawsuit just got punted back to the District to see what happens now, but it was punted based on the presumption that Congress was going to fix the illegal dragnet “soon.”

A year is not “soon,” at least not in my book.

If ACLU agrees with me, they can asks the judges to provide some relief “sooner” than a year from now, either by ordering an earlier end to the dragnet or — at the very least — requiring the NSA to pull all of ACLU’s records from their dragnet. Indeed, given the number of active court challenges the ACLU has against the government, they’d be able to argue pretty compellingly they need quicker relief than a year.

In the past, NSA has suggested it would be too onerous to pull the records of one plaintiff from the dragnet. Who knows whether they were just bullshitting judges, but if it is too onerous, that would present other issues.

All of which is my way of saying the ACLU may have a few cards of interest in their hand that no one is much considering. I’m not going to ask them what they’re holding, mind you. I like that they may be deliberating in secret to thwart efforts to extend the dragnet.

I’m just noting that they do appear to still be holding some cards…

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

6 replies
  1. Stephen says:

    “Indeed, no one even seems to be interested what the ACLU thinks about all this, reporting the key players to include Mitch McConnell and Richard Burr, the White House and Intelligence Agencies, and the House…but not the ACLU.
    .
    Check out:
    .
    http://justsecurity.org/23369/chris-soghoian-wrong-focusing-section-215/
    .
    An excerpt:
    .
    “It’s great that the sunset of Section 215 has reignited the debate about mass surveillance in the United States, but all the focus on this one provision, more specifically on the telephone metadata program it permits, may miss the mark, according to Chris Soghoian, the ACLU’s chief technologist and longtime fixture at the intersection of digital security and privacy.”

    • What Constitution? says:

      Great news — there’s an “intersection of digital security and privacy”!!!! Did anybody tell DiFi or McConnell or Burd or, well the list goes on. They all seem to assume these are parallel universes that simply can’t be mentioned in the same breath, let alone be considered to be related.

      Maybe somebody could run that Boumediene quote up a flagpole again, something about the Constitution applying even in “dangerous times”? You know, before they vote on something else.

  2. wallace says:

    quote”I’m just noting that they do appear to still be holding some cards…”unquote

    You had too much rubarb pie. What else would you expect when a tsunami of congressional IC hawk rhetoric, failures, and bullshit settle on top of the IC cesspool. After all..even pond scum has to ride the wave of turds that are created when the Congressional toilet is flushed. Even a cave man knows when to flush the second tank full.

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