Civil Liberties Coalition Challenges Secret National Security Agency Spying

Where: Corner of Delaware and Constitution Avenues near Upper Senate Park
When: Friday, June 14, 2013, 12:00 PM

Washington DC – A press conference and rally protesting the National Security Agency’s abuses of law-abiding Americans will be held on Friday, June 14, 2013 at 12:00 pm on Capitol Hill, at the corner Delaware and Constitution Avenues near Upper Senate Park.

The action has been called by a coalition of local and national organizations in the Washington, DC, metro area, including the Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition, Defending Dissent Foundation, CODEPINK, the Washington Peace Center, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, the Council on American–Islamic Relations-Maryland, Demand Progress, Institute for Policy Studies, Bradley Manning Support Network, ACLU of the Nation’s Capital and others.

“We are outraged that our government has given itself the power to conduct intrusive spying on us through our phone records, emails and other digital media,” said Thomas Nephew of the Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition. “It’s no accident that these powers of surveillance were barely explained to Congressmembers, let alone to the general public for an open debate. The only way this extensive intrusion of privacy could occur was behind an undemocratic cloak of secrecy.”

Speakers at the event will include:

  • Sue Udry, Defending Dissent Foundation, Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition
  • Dany Sigwalt, Washington Peace Center
  • Ginger McCall, Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
  • Seema Sadanandan, ACLU-National Capital Region
  • Naji Mujahid, NAACP-Washington, DC Branch
  • Zainab Chaudry, CAIR-MD
  • Shahid Buttar and George Friday, Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC)
  • Texas State Representative Lon Burnam (D-Ft. Worth)
  • Sanho Tree, Institute for Policy Studies (IPS)
  • Joan Stollard, CodePink
  • Chris Townsend, UE (United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America)
  • David Moon, Demand Progress
  • Hendrick Voss, SOA Watch

The rally will emphasize that although the President and Congress point to legal authorities enabling secret dragnet NSA surveillance, the 2008 FISA Amendments Act authorized programs that are blatantly unconstitutional, and were illegal when they were first launched in secret. We the People did not resign our rights under the Fourth Amendment, even if Congress and the courts have grown complicit in the national security state’s systematic violations.

The rally is the first of several events planned in response to revelations of secret NSA spying. Coalition members will be meeting with Senators and Representatives to express their deep concerns about the NSA and inviting both long overdue oversight, as well as affirmative legislation to rein in domestic surveillance. Additional demonstrations will also be occurring, both in the nation’s capital, as well as around the country in local towns and cities.

In each of these actions, we demand:

  • that the NSA immediately cease its collection of electronic intelligence on U.S. citizens and persons in the United States unless it can demonstrate probable cause to suspect an individual of committing a criminal offense
  • that Congress repeal the 2008 FISA Amendments Act and the PATRIOT Act
  • that the Senate and House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees each launch an investigation into the extent of the NSA’s and FBI’s spying networks, reveal their costs to the public and explore whether their results justify that cost
  • that government officials, including the senior ranks of the NSA and FBI, be held accountable for deceiving Congress and citizens about the scope of their constitutionally offensive domestic surveillance activities

Sponsors include: Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition • Defending Dissent Foundation • CODEPINK • Washington Peace Center • Bill of Rights Defense Committee • Demand Progress • Institute for Policy Studies • Council on American–Islamic Relations-Maryland • Bradley Manning Support Network • SOA Watch • National Lawyers Guild DC • ACLU of the Nation’s Capital • UE (United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America