We’re counting down the days until the election on Nov. 6 and today we’re focused on the presidential candidates’ positions on national security issues.
Illegal government spying, indefinite detention without charge or trial and government-sponsored torture programs after 9/11 transcended the bounds of the Constitution, our law and our most treasured values in the name of national security. There has never been a more urgent need to restore individual freedoms, due process rights and our system of checks and balances.
ACLU Liberty Watch has been tracking the candidates’ positions on reauthorizing the PATRIOT Act, which allows intrusive surveillance without judicial oversight, including domestic spying. Reauthorizations have allowed even further expansions of such broad and unchecked government power. The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution protects against unreasonable search and seizure and unwarranted government intrusion.
The PATRIOT Act and subsequent reauthorization have been supported by both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney – that earned them zero torches
on our report card. Libertarian Gary Johnson, who thinks the PATRIOT Act should be allowed to expire, earned three torches.
We’ve also been following their positions on torture. So-called "enhanced interrogation techniques” like waterboarding are torture. They violate the Constitution and the Geneva Conventions. Our national security policies must be consistent with the Constitution, the rule of law, and fundamental human rights. Check out the report card
to see where the candidates stand on torture.
When it comes to indefinite detention, how many torches do the candidates have on the ACLU Liberty Watch 2012 Report Card? Obama has one, Johnson has two, and Romney has zero. Want to know why? Check out their records here
The arrest, detention and trial of terror suspects must align with the Constitution. When candidates endorse policies that would continue illegal detentions without charge or access to courts, they create a two-tiered justice system and ignore constitutional safeguards against governmental abuses of power.