ACLU Challenges the FISA Amendments Act

Document Date: January 24, 2008

ACLU Challenges Unconstitutional Spying Law
In July 2008, Congress capitulated to the White House’s demands and scare tactics by passing the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, giving the NSA even more power to spy on Americans without warrants than it exercised under its illegal surveillance program. The ACLU is asking the court to protect the privacy rights of all Americans and declare the FAA unconstitutional.


Naomi Klein, Reporter
About The Nation >>
Biography >>
Statement >>

Chris Hedges, Reporter
About The Nation >>
Biography >>
Statement >>

Scott McKay, Defense Attorney
Biography >>
Joint Statement With David Nevin >>

David Nevin, Defense Attorney
Biography >>
Joint Statement With Scott McKay >>

Joy Olson, Executive Director, Washington Office on Latin America
About WOLA >>
Statement >>

Dale Needles, Chief Operations Officer, Global Fund for Women
About GFW >>
Statement >>

Read all ACLU client Bios >>

For years, the Bush administration illegally intercepted the emails and phone calls of millions of Americans. Rather than rein in this abuse of power, lawmakers on Capitol Hill caved in to the administration and gave the National Security Agency (NSA) even more expansive powers to spy on Americans than it had under the illegal warrantless wiretapping program President Bush secretly authorized in 2001.

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Video: Conversation with ACLU’s Jameel Jaffer, The Nation’s Chris Hedges and Human Rights Watch’s Dinah PoKempner

The Constitution is the bedrock of our democracy; it guarantees Americans the right to privacy and free speech. Electronic surveillance is highly invasive. By reading our emails and listening to our phone calls the government gets direct access to our thoughts, our feelings, our associates and our political views. Unrestrained and unchecked government surveillance not only intrudes upon Americans’ right to privacy, it also has the dangerous effect of chilling speech and political dissent. The power to spy is one that is easily abused and history is full of examples of what leaders are willing to do when tempted with unchecked power.

Electronic surveillance is a necessary tool in protecting our nation’s security, but it must be conducted constitutionally. That is why the ACLU is in court fighting on behalf of non-profits, attorneys and prominent journalists to strike down the FISA Amendments Act of 2008.

The ACLU has also asked the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to ensure that any proceedings relating to the scope, meaning or constitutionality of the FAA be open to the public to the extent possible and that the ACLU be allowed to make arguments about the constitutionality of the new law. The FISC oversees intelligence surveillance, typically operates in secret, and hears arguments only from the government.

> ACLU Asks Court To Reinstate Challenge To Spying Law (10/1/2009)

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Why the FAA is Unconstitutional

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