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How a Quaker’s suit against the Secretary of Defense still impacts cases over government surveillance

You have reason to believe you’re being monitored by the government, that they are following you and cataloging everywhere you go and everyone you talk to. The knowledge haunts you, and has a chilling effect on everything you do. But can you sue to stop it? In this month’s episode, the ABA Journal’s Lee Rawles speaks with Jeffrey Vagle about his new book, Being Watched: Legal Challenges to Government Surveillance about the current challenges to government surveillance, and a seminal Supreme Court case in 1972 whose effects are still being felt today. Vagle tells the story of Arlo Tatum, a Quaker and anti-war activist who went to prison twice as a conscientious objector rather than sign up for the WWII and Korean War drafts. When he discovered in 1970 that U.S. military intelligence had been following and gathering intelligence on him, he sued the Secretary of Defense. What happened next has had lingering ramifications.

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