Civil Liberties

Remedial Civil Liberties Training at DHS

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Documents obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation via a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit indicate that officials at the Department of Homeland Security have been improperly collecting information about the constitutionally protected activities of Americans. The abuses include a February "threat assessment" of an abortion demonstration in Wisconsin, a March 2008 "terrorism watch list" report about a Muslim conference in Georgia where several Americans spoke, and an October 2007 report entitled "Nation of Islam: Uncertain Leadership Succession Poses Risks." In all three cases, The New York Times says, "after other Homeland Security Department officials raised concerns, copies of the reports were destroyed. The agency also held a workshop on intelligence-gathering 'while ensuring the protection of civil rights and civil liberties' after the Nation of Islam incident." Another document obtained by EFF, a 2007 report from officials at the National Security Agency, said "intelligence oversight training is not managed effectively" at the NSA. An agency spokeswoman says things have improved since then.