19:21 GMT17 February 2020
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    The United States has violated the economic and legal rights of its citizens to an alarming degree and can no longer claim that it’s a leading beacon of liberty, the CATO Institute said in its 2016 Human Freedom Index.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The United States fell from 17th place in 2008 to 20th place in 2012, declining in every category of economic freedom and rule of law indicators, the report stated on Tuesday.

    "The US performance is worrisome and shows that the United States can no longer claim to be the leading bastion of liberty in the world."

    The decline, the report claimed, can be primarily attributed to the federal government’s overregulation of business and violation of civil liberties to fight the war on terror.

    Hong Kong, Switzerland and Denmark topped the rankings while Myanmar, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Iran filled the bottom three slots, the report noted.

    The White House has come under fire for policies that have raised civil rights concerns, including mass surveillance practices and cracking down on reporters and whistleblowers.

    In February, Reporters Without Borders said the United States continues to exploit protecting national security to clamp down on journalists.

    In June 2013, former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden started leaking millions of classified government documents disclosing the agency’s mass surveillance of civilian, corporate as well as government communication.

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    freedom, Reporters Without Borders, Edward Snowden
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