Privacy SOS

Won’t spy for the feds? Good luck with that.

We've been aware for some time now of the federal government's use of immigration threats to coerce people, largely Muslims, to inform on their communities. But now we have evidence that the feds are also using their unchecked powers to punish American citizens who refuse to become government informants. 

A recent report confirms that in 2004, US lawyer and professor Francis Boyle received a visit from federal law enforcement officials, during which the agents asked Boyle to become an informant. The government wanted Boyle to give the government confidential and privileged information about Boyle's own clients, many of whom are Arab or Muslim. Boyle refused, and now finds himself on a number of federal terrorism watchlists. Travel has since become difficult for the professor, as he has been taken out of line and aggressively searched and interrogated at airports throughout the country.

He remains concerned about the possibility of retribution against he and others should another attack occur but plans to remain firm in his commitment to his country and its ideals of freedom. 
 
"It feels sort of like a loaded gun sitting there," he said. "But I was born here and I will stay here as a U.S. citizen, and stand and fight for the rights and future of this country." 
Here in Massachusetts, attorney-client privilege is under attack by the state's so-called "fusion center", a spy center in Maynard staffed by local, state and federal officials. A standard operating procedure obtained via public records request by the ACLUm reveals that undercover agents mustn't leave the room when attorneys are discussing confidential, privileged information with their clients. 

© 2021 ACLU of Massachusetts.