Politics & Government
6:00 am
Mon March 25, 2013

ACLU and Republican Congressman to talk drones in America and indefinite detention

Congressman Justin Amash (R-Grand Rapids) and the American Civil Liberties Union are teaming up to talk about national security.

Amash is more libertarian than many Republicans. While he and the ACLU don’t see eye to eye on everything, ACLU of Michigan Deputy Director Mary Bejian called Amash “one of the ACLU’s strongest allies in congress on these important national security issues.”

“It’s no secret that the ACLU and Representative Amash disagree on some substantive issues like immigration rights, women’s rights, LGBT rights, but it’s very important that we work together on issues for which we have common ground,” Bejian said.  

Both oppose indefinite military detention without trial. Bejain called the policy “overreaching and unconstitutional.”

The practice began under President George W Bush, but President Obama signed a law sanctioning the practice in 2011. At the time, Amash asked congressional leaders to modify the language in that law, saying he couldn’t support “measures that, in the name of security, violate Americans’ constitutional rights.”

The ACLU and Amash also oppose some ways the federal government uses or wants to use unmanned drones on American soil.

“We’re extremely concerned about privacy retention of information and data, how that will be shared and then potentially the arming of drones at some point,” Bejian said.

Amash thanked US Senator Rand Paul for his effort earlier this month to filibuster John Brennan’s nomination as director of the Central Intelligence Agency. That filibuster was, in part, to raise awareness about the secrecy about the rules governing any domestic drone program.

People can ask questions and give feedback during the free event tonight in Grand Rapids. It’s at 7p.m. at the Wealthy Theater.