Ben Shapiro Event at University of Minnesota Facing Hurdles According to YAF

Feb 26, 2018

Ben Shapiro will speak at a free event on campus. More details will be posted as the event approaches.

This event will be live streamed at 7:00 pm CT / 8:00 ET. Please click here to register to watch.

University of Minnesota Twin Cities
100 Church Street SE
Minneapolis, MN

YAF, sponsor of the event, now claims the university is denying venue requests to isolate the conservative event.

The Department of Justice recently filed a “Statement of Interest” in attempts to hinder YAF events, in particular with regard to USC Berkeley’s handling of YAF’s Ben Shapiro event last September.

In filing the Statement of Interest, Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand provided the following statement:

“This Department of Justice will not stand by idly while public universities violate students’ constitutional rights.”

Justice Department Files Statement of Interest in California College Free Speech Case

Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) is an ideologically conservative youth activism organization that was founded in 1960 as a coalition between traditional conservatives and libertarians on American college campuses. It is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and the chapter affiliate of Young America’s Foundation.

Justice Department Files Statement of Interest in California College Free Speech Case

Photo: Ben Shapiro was one of the high-profile speakers hosted by YAF this year at UC Berkeley. The event prompted counter-protests, a high level of security, and offers of counseling for students who did not feel safe.
Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
Thursday, January 25, 2018

The Department of Justice filed a Statement of Interest in Young America’s Foundation and Berkeley College Republicans v. Janet Napolitano. The plaintiffs, Berkeley College Republicans (BCR) and Young America’s Foundation (YAF), allege that the University of California, Berkeley, enforced a double standard when applied to free speech. BCR alleges that UC Berkeley applied a more rigorous and highly discretionary set of rules to their organization compared to other campus groups, especially with respect to “high-profile” campus speakers.

The plaintiffs filed the lawsuit as a result of excessive hurdles BCR faced in bringing speakers of their choice onto campus. They allege that UC Berkeley’s High Profile Speaker Policy and Major Events Policy violated their rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

In their lawsuit, the plaintiffs allege that Berkeley’s “High-Profile Speaker Policy” granted administrators unfettered discretion to decide which speakers are subject to arduous curfews, prohibitive security costs, or undesirable venues. In one instance, administrators—who had full discretion to determine who constituted a “high-profile speaker”—established a 3:00 pm “curfew” that conflicted with class times.

While the plaintiffs attempted to book speakers under the restrictions of the “High-Profile Speaker Policy,” a former president of Mexico and a former White House adviser were hosted at the University, but University administrators did not apply the High-Profile Speakers Policy to those events.

Berkeley counseling for impact speakers “have on individuals’ sense of safety & belonging”

In filing the Statement of Interest, Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand provided the following statement:

“This Department of Justice will not stand by idly while public universities violate students’ constitutional rights.”

In addition to the statement, Associate Attorney General today penned an op-ed(link is external) on the issue of campus free speech.

This is the third Statement of Interest filed by the Department of Justice in a First Amendment case under Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The first was filed on September 26, 2017 in Uzuegbunam v. Preczewski, and the second was filed on October 24, 2017 in Shaw v. Burke.

Attorney General Sessions reestablished the Department’s commitment to protecting First Amendment rights—especially campus free speech– in a speech at Georgetown Law School in 2017.

Text Messages of FBI’s Strzok and Page: Judicial Watch Files Lawsuit

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information (FOIA) lawsuit against the Justice Department for text messages and other records of FBI official Peter Strzok and FBI attorney Lisa Page (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:18-cv-00154)).

Judicial Watch filed suit after the Justice Department failed to respond to a December 4, 2017, FOIA request for:

  • All records of communications, including but not limited to, emails, text messages and instant chats, between FBI official Peter Strozk and FBI attorney Lisa Page;
  • All travel requests, travel authorizations, travel vouchers and expense reports of Peter Strozk;
  • All travel requests, travel authorizations, travel vouchers and expense reports of Lisa Page.

The time frame for the requested records is February 1, 2015 to the present.

The text messages are of public interest because Strzok and Page were key investigators in the Clinton email and Trump Russia collusion investigations. Strzok was reportedly removed from the Mueller investigative team in August and reassigned to a human resources position after it was discovered that he and a FBI lawyer, Lisa Page, who worked for FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, and with whom Strzok was carrying on an extramarital affair, exchanged pro-Clinton and anti-Trump text messages.

Strzok reportedly oversaw the FBI’s interviews of former National Security Adviser, General Michael Flynn; changed former FBI Director James Comey’s language about Hillary Clinton’s actions regarding her illicit email server from “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless;” played a lead role in the FBI’s interview of Clinton; and is suspected of being responsible for using the unverified dossier to obtain a FISA warrant in order to spy on President Trump’s campaign.

Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, revealed in a letter dated January 20 that the FBI claimed it is unable to preserve text messages for a five-month period between December 14, 2016, and May 17, 2017, due to “misconfiguration issues” with FBI-issued phones used by Strzok and Page. The missing messages span dates between the presidential transition and the launch of Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, where both Strzok and Page were employed.

The Strzok-Page text messages are potentially responsive to several pending Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuits, but the FBI has yet to produce any of the records, explain the missing records to the courts, or otherwise be forthcoming about these newly disclosed materials.

“I don’t believe for one minute that the Strzok-Page texts are really missing,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The IRS told us that Lois Lerner’s emails were ‘missing,’ and we forced them to admit they existed and deliver them to us. The State Department hid the Clinton emails but our FOIA lawsuits famously blew open that cover-up. We fully intend to get the ‘missing’ Strzok and Page documents. And it is shameful the FBI and DOJ have been playing shell games with these smoking gun text messages. Frankly, FBI Director Wray needs to stop the stonewalling”

UNDERCOVER VIDEO: Sr Network Security Engineer Reveals Twitter Ready to Give Trump’s Private DMs to DOJ

Since this video was released, Twitter has responded by stating the person in the undercover video has no authority over this type of release of information.

(San Francisco) A Project Veritas undercover investigation has revealed a senior network security engineer at Twitter stating that his company is “more than happy” to turn over the private communications and deleted tweets of President Donald Trump to the Department of Justice. If true, it is yet unknown whether Twitter is voluntarily disclosing this sensitive information or acting under a court order. Twitter is currently in the midst of defending itself from left-leaning criticism that President Trump hasn’t been removed from the enormous media platform for violations of Twitter’s Terms of Service.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Clay Haynes has been employed by Twitter since September 2016. On January 3, 2018, he met with a Project Veritas undercover journalist (UCJ) at Stookeys Club Moderne in San Francisco. Using a hidden video camera, the Veritas UCJ captures Haynes stating that “we’re more than happy to help the DOJ with their little investigation” of President Trump.

When prompted by the UCJ, Mr. Haynes provides additional details, “Basically, giving them every single tweet that he’s posted. Even the ones he’s deleted, any direct messages, any mentions…”

“…he’s dangerous, I don’t like him and he’s a terrible human being and I want to get rid of him,” the self-described bleeding-heart liberal Haynes says in the video about President Trump. “In fact, we had internal reviews about that…”

On January 7, 2018, James O’Keefe himself went undercover with Haynes at Morton’s Steakhouse in San Francisco to confirm if Twitter was working with the Department of Justice to hand over Trump’s tweets and DMs. When pressed about looking at Donald Trump’s messages, Haynes explained “We have a subpoena process for that very reason.” The conversation continued:

James O’Keefe: “Are you working with DOJ currently on that?”

Clay Haynes: “I can’t comment, even if I knew, I wouldn’t comment.”

“The fact is, even if Haynes was just speculating about helping Justice, his admission shows a clear and dangerous political bias at the highest levels of Twitter,” says Project Veritas founder and President James O’Keefe in the video.

“The question is: by Twitter giving private information about the President to the Justice Department, are they breaking the law, betraying a trust, following an official request or satisfying a political agenda by leading a crusade against the President.”

Describing himself as the bouncer of the network, Mr. Haynes also details the level of information Twitter retains in its databases about their hundreds of millions of users.

The Project Veritas Twitter investigation is the fourth installment of its American Pravda series. In Part I, Veritas disclosed that CNN’s Russia coverage is driven by ratings and a political agenda, but in reality, using the words of CNN Political Commentator Van Jones, is just a “nothing burger.” Part II disclosed a political bias at The New York Times which forced executive responses and an immediate change of their social media policy.  Part III exposed political bias at The Washington Post and brought to light that the far-reaching narratives of the paper’s editorial board are not rooted in the factual findings of their subject-matter expert reporters. Project Veritas will be releasing additional Twitter-related videos over the next several days.

Mr. O’Keefe has just completed a book about this series entitled “AMERICAN PRAVDA: My fight for Truth in the Era of Fake News.” The book will be released by St. Martin’s Press on January 16, 2018.

Free Speech & Free Speech Zones on Campus: DOJ files statement of interest in FIRE lawsuit

Kevin Shaw on the campus of Pierce College (Dawn Bowery/FIRE)

WASHINGTON, Oct. 25, 2017 — The Department of Justice on Tuesday filed a statement of interest in a California student’s lawsuit against his college’s free speech zone policies.

In March, Los Angeles Pierce College student Kevin Shaw filed a lawsuit challenging Pierce College and Los Angeles Community College District policies that restrict student free speech rights to tiny “free speech zones.” The lawsuit is part of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s Million Voices Campaign.

“The United States has an interest in protecting the individual rights guaranteed by the First Amendment,” according to the statement of interest, a brief filed by the attorney general expressing the interests of the United States in a pending lawsuit. “The right to free speech lies at the heart of a free society and is the ‘only effectual guardian of every other right.’”

The statement of interest argues that, based on the facts alleged in Shaw’s lawsuit, Pierce College and the district’s policies and practices violate student First Amendment rights and denied Shaw “his right to engage in expressive activity in a public forum.” Shaw is currently awaiting a Nov. 14 hearing on the defendants’ motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

“I am humbled to have the support of the Department of Justice,” said Shaw. “Their statement affirms what I’ve believed all along — that the First Amendment is essential to American progress, and nowhere more so than on a college campus.”

In November 2016, Shaw attempted to distribute Spanish-language copies of the U.S. Constitution and recruit new members for his student group, Young Americans for Liberty, along a main public walkway through campus. As he prepared, he was approached by an administrator who told him that he could not distribute literature outside the campus free speech zone, a tiny area on campus measuring approximately 616 square feet and comprising about .003 percent of the total area of Pierce College’s 426-acre campus.

Shaw was also told he must fill out a permit application to use the free speech zone. He was informed that he would be asked to leave campus if he refused to comply.

“FIRE is grateful for the Department of Justice’s decision to file a statement of interest in our lawsuit,” said FIRE Director of Litigation Marieke Tuthill Beck-Coon. “As the department rightly recognizes, these policies severely restrict the expressive rights of all students on each of the nine district campuses. We cannot allow the First Amendment rights that Kevin Shaw and his fellow students possess to be taken away by administrative fiat.”

The lawsuit was filed on March 28 in partnership with Arthur Willner, a partner at Leader & Berkon LLP, who is co-counsel with FIRE in the case. In addition to challenging Pierce College’s unconstitutional free speech zone and permit requirement, the lawsuit also challenges an LACCD policy that requires the president of each LACCD college to designate at least one free speech zone on their campus. With approximately 150,000 students, the LACCD is the largest community college district in the country.

“This lawsuit presents Pierce with the opportunity to move to the right side of this issue by ending its unconstitutional violation of its students’ First Amendment rights,” said Willner.

If you are a student who has been censored on campus, FIRE and its Legal Network partners stand ready to protect your First Amendment rights in court. Students interested in submitting their case to FIRE’s Million Voices Campaign can do so through FIRE’s online case submission form. Attorneys interested in joining FIRE’s Legal Network can apply on FIRE’s website. https://www.thefire.org/

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to defending liberty, freedom of speech, due process, academic freedom, legal equality, and freedom of conscience on America’s college campuses.

Million Voices Campaign

Did You Like This Facebook Page? Government Seeks Info on DisruptJ20 Activity

Although the page is public, the warrant would require the disclosure of non-public lists of people who planned to attend political organizing events and even the names of people who simply liked, followed, reacted to, commented on, or otherwise engaged with the content on the Facebook page.

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Overbroad Search Warrant Implicates Private Pages of Two Local Activists and First Amendment Rights of Thousands of Facebook Users

 

September 28, 2017, WASHINGTON – The American Civil Liberties Union of the District of Columbia (ACLU-DC) went to court today to block the enforcement of search warrants targeting three Facebook accounts as part of the government’s investigation and prosecution of activists arrested on Inauguration Day 2017 in Washington D.C.

Two of the warrants would require Facebook to disclose to the government all information from the personal Facebook profiles of local DisruptJ20 activists Lacy MacAuley and Legba Carrefour from November 1, 2016 through February 9, 2017. Although the warrants claim to seek only evidence in support of the government’s prosecutions of January 20 demonstrations, they demand—among other things—all private messages, friend lists, status updates, comments, photos, video, and other private information solely intended for the users’ Facebook friends and family, even if they have nothing to do with Inauguration Day. The warrants also seek information about actions taken on Facebook, including all searches performed by the users, groups or networks joined, and all “data and information that has been deleted by the user.”

The third search warrant was issued for the “DisruptJ20” Facebook page (now called “Resist This”), administered and moderated by Emmelia Talarico. Although the page is public, the warrant would require the disclosure of non-public lists of people who planned to attend political organizing events and even the names of people who simply liked, followed, reacted to, commented on, or otherwise engaged with the content on the Facebook page. During the three-month span the search warrant covers, approximately 6,000 Facebook users liked the page.

The ACLU-DC filed a motion to intervene on behalf of the Facebook users whose accounts are targeted, and a motion to quash or modify the search warrants, arguing that the warrants are overbroad under the Fourth Amendment (which protects personal privacy) and are particularly problematic because the lawful political associations and activities of the users and thousands of third parties will be revealed. The ACLU filing asks the court either to void the warrants outright or to appoint a “special master” who is not part of the prosecutor’s office, to review the Facebook information before providing to the prosecutor only the material—if there is any—relevant to their criminal prosecutions.

“Opening up the entire contents of a personal Facebook page for review by the government is a gross invasion of privacy,” said Scott Michelman, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU-DC.  “The primary purpose of the Fourth Amendment was to prevent this type of exploratory rummaging through a person’s private information. Moreover, when law enforcement officers can comb through records concerning political organizing in opposition to the very administration for which those officers work, the result is the chilling of First Amendment-protected political activity.”

None of the ACLU-DC’s clients in today’s filing has been charged by the U.S. Attorney with any Inauguration Day-related crimes.

The public first learned of this case when Facebook revealed it had received the warrants and challenged a gag order attached to the warrants that prevented the company from notifying its customers that their information was sought by federal law enforcement. Public interest groups including the ACLU, ACLU-DC, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Public Citizen, as well as internet companies including Google, Apple, and Microsoft, filed friend-of-the-court briefs arguing that the gag order should be lifted so the Facebook users could challenge the constitutionality of the search warrants under the First and Fourth Amendments. On the eve of the hearing on the gag order before the D.C. Court of Appeals, the government abruptly withdrew the order. Facebook then notified MacAuley, Carrefour, and Talarico of the warrants and the threats to their privacy.

“My Facebook page contains the most private aspects of my life—and also a frightening amount of information on the people in my life. There are intimate details of my love life, family, and things the federal government just doesn’t need to see,” said MacAuley, one of the ACLU-DC clients challenging the enforcement of the warrants. “Jeff Sessions doesn’t need to see my family photos.”

“This is part of a pattern of prosecutorial overreach in the repression of Inauguration Day protestors,” said Carrefour. “This warrant is more than just a violation of privacy. It is a direct attack on D.C.’s grassroots organizing community,” said Talarico. “In a city rife with inequities and injustices, the deck is already stacked against us. This overreaching warrant would strike a devastating blow to organizers working every day to make this city a better place.”

This is second known attempt by the government to conduct unlawful dragnet searches of the internet and social media in search of evidence against activists arrested on Inauguration Day. In a similar case of government overreach, the government had issued a warrant to website hosting provider Dreamhost for the IP addresses of the 1.3 million people who ever visited the DisruptJ20.org website. Dreamhost, supported by several amici and intervenors, challenged the scope of the warrant and went public with the government’s overbroad request. Amidst public outcry, the government asked the D.C. Superior Court to narrow the time frame of the warrant and eliminate the request for IP addresses. The court agreed and went further by demanding strict safeguards for privacy before the warrant may be executed. The government is now litigating the scope of these additional protections.

Today’s motions to intervene and to quash were filed in D.C. Superior Court. The case is formally titled In the Matter of the Search of Information Associated with Facebook Accounts disruptj20, lacymacauley, and legba.carrefour That Is Stored at Premises Controlled by Facebook, Inc.

Legal documents can be found at:

https://www.acludc.org/en/cases/matter-search-information-associated-facebook-accounts-disruptj20-etc