AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2009 NEWSLETTER
1. The surveillance program was massive, but not necessarily effective. For example, at the FBI, most leads developed through the program were "determined not to have any connection to terrorism." The report also notes that most intelligence officials "had difficulty citing specific instances" of how the illegal wiretap program helped fight terrorism. This is, of course, in direct contrast to repeated assertions by President Bush and V.P. Cheney that the program was crucial and saved lives.
One of the most glaring problems is a provision in the Patriot Act that allows the Treasury Department to freeze the assets of a charity, without notice, while it investigates whether the charity is somehow supporting terrorism. In 2006, the Treasury Department froze the assets of KindHearts, a charity working in Gaza. The organization sued, and on August 18, 2009, a federal court ruled that shutting down a charity without notice "pending investigation" and seizing its assets indefinitely violates the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. We applaud this ruling. KindHearts has never been found to have done anything wrong, but the seizure of its assets and the investigation effectively closed the charity down. And the $1 million in assets - donated to help people in need in Gaza and elsewhere - has been frozen for 3 years. Kay Guinane, Executive Director of the Charity and Security Network wrote that the ruling "rights a terrible wrong- freezing funds for humanitarian aid for over three years, with no effort by Treasury to ensure people in need ever get the assistance intended. Congress should take notice and investigate the charity situation and the administration should continue its dialog with the charitable sector to find solutions to the problem".
END RACIAL PROFILING IN IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT!