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Today, LDF, Brennan Center, CCR, and ACLU sent a letter to members of Congress expressing concern about the inappropriate use of federal counterterrorism authorities by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) to target opposition to construction of a police training facility known as Cop City in Atlanta, Georgia. In July 2023, we sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security raising similar concerns about their surveillance of and use of the term “Domestic Violent Extremism” in reference to Cop City opponents.

DHS intelligence has inappropriately characterized Stop Cop City activists as “Domestic Violent Extremists” and facilitated their targeting by Georgia law enforcement. Permissive rules and weak safeguards foster patterns of chronic abuse, 

Congress has the power to end DHS intelligence abuses. The letter asks that members of Congress take the following steps to address I&A’s abuse of its overbroad intelligence authorities: 

1.       Meet expeditiously with signatories to this letter to discuss the harms of DHS intelligence programs; 

2.      Call for the public release of all DHS records related to Stop Cop City and opposition to the proposed Atlanta Public Safety Training Center; 

3.      Demand that DHS cease disseminating information that treats ideological support for the Stop Cop City movement as an indicator of “domestic violent extremism”; and 

4.      Investigate DHS’s use of intelligence authorities and standards that have permitted repeated abuses and adopt robust legislation to curtail them. 

Read the full letter here.

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Founded in 1940, the Legal Defense Fund (LDF) is the nation’s first civil rights law organization. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Please note that LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights.

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