November’s elections and the state of the economy have many Americans calling for cuts to federal spending. Protecting civil liberties and constitutional rights has not been a priority in Washington for some time now, but the clamor for federal spending cuts presents a unique opportunity to bring these issues to the fore once again.
National security spending has dramatically increased in recent years. Surveillance programs have expanded, collecting huge amounts of data on law-abiding Americans. Meanwhile, the intelligence establishment has created new ways of collecting that data—through invasive technology like TSA’s body scanners, policies including the FBI’s 2008 Mukasey Guidelines, and entirely new institutions such as fusion centers (more than 70 of which currently operate around the country).
By researching national security spending programs and recommending specific cuts, we can help Congress—particularly incoming representatives less beholden to the institutional establishment than their colleagues—identify opportunities to scale back programs that infringe on fundamental rights.
We need your help to identify specific programs for budget cuts. This project does not require subject matter expertise, but does require significant web research and some writing. We’ll brief volunteers in early December and invite your research over the holidays for submission in early January. We’ll then distribute those recommendations to members of Congress on Thursday, January 27, 2010.
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