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

Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Stuart Phillips
Official U.S. Navy Imagery

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 sanctioningthe practice in 2011. At the time, Amash asked congressional leaders to modify the languagein 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 governingany 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.

Lindsey Smith is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently leading the station's Amplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Public's Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.
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