Bill of Rights Defense Campaign

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July 12, 2011

America calls on Congress to reject extension of FBI director’s term

Nearly 40 organizations demand more oversight of the Bureau’s constitutional rights abuses and launch an online education campaign

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Today, a coalition of nearly 40 diverse organizations submitted a letter to members of both the Senate and the House of Representatives opposing the extension of FBI Director Robert Mueller’s term, as proposed by the Obama administration. Meanwhile, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, which organized the coalition, released an online petition for concerned individuals and launched an online video to educate the public about these issues.

Groups participating in the coalition represent a wide swath of interests and include organizations representing libertarians, progressives, immigrants, civil liberties concerns, the peace and justice movement, and government transparency issues. They jointly signed a letter calling for Congress to reject the proposed extension of the FBI director’s term, noting that the director has overseen ongoing egregious violations of civil liberties and constitutional rights during his tenure. It reads:

Under Director Mueller’s leadership, the FBI has frequently violated the rights of diverse law-abiding Americans, abused its investigative powers, failed to abide by its own guidelines, arbitrarily revised those guidelines to permit longstanding abuses even in the face of congressional concerns, and avoided public accountability by cloaking its actions in secrecy—all while actively (and demonstrably) misleading federal courts, Congress and the American people.

The letter cites news stories documenting each of its assertions and highlights that these issues affect all Americans, regardless of political affiliation or demographics:

[T]he director’s post—and the future ability of Congress to restore checks and balances undermined by executive aggrandizement and secrecy—are concerns too important to be sacrificed for political considerations. Constitutional rights are not partisan issues. Indeed, administrations from both major parties, and congressional leaders from both sides of the partisan aisle, have repeatedly entrenched executive power despite a rising tide of violations by our nation’s intelligence agencies. Even FBI veterans have called for long overdue oversight and opposed the extension of the director’s term.

In a continuing effort to educate the public about the FBI’s violations of privacy and individual liberty, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee has also released a new video, “The unPATRIOTic Act and COINTELPRO 2.0,” which features FBI veterans, former CIA agents, the former chief prosecutor for the Guantánamo Bay military commissions, and other experts discussing the FBI’s historic and continuing abuses:

BORDC has also asked individual Americans to sign a letter to Congress similar to the one submitted today on behalf of concerned organizations.

About the Bill of Rights Defense Committee

Formed in 2001, The Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC) is a national non-profit grassroots organization. We defend the rule of law and rights and liberties challenged by overbroad national security and counter-terrorism policies. BORDC supports an ideologically, ethnically, geographically, and generationally diverse grassroots movement to protect and restore these principles by encouraging widespread civic participation; educating people about the significance of our rights; and cultivating grassroots networks to convert concern, outrage, and fear into debate and action. For more information, visit http://www.bordc.org or call (413) 582-0110.

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