ACLU to Keep Tabs on Spying Investigation

June 25, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: media@dcaclu.org

Washington, DC - In reaction to a Senate Judiciary Committee vote on subpoenas, the American Civil Liberties Union launched a website today that will scrutinize the investigation process. Last Thursday, the committee voted to authorize the use of subpoenas to obtain documents related to the National Security Agency's warrantless wiretapping program. The ACLU website, Subpoena Watch, will list items and testimony that the organization feels must be obtained and will monitor the progress of the committee's work.

"It's encouraging to see Chairman Leahy and the Senate Judiciary Committee using their subpoena power, and they should be commended for their oversight attempts," said Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. "However, we want to be clear on what is needed for Congress to conduct a thorough and exhaustive inquiry. Our website is being launched to ensure that the committee does not back down from its requests and that a full and public investigation is completed. We believe that it is imperative that the documents listed on our site be examined so that we can have a clear understanding of this program's legal framework."

The ACLU is asking the committee to demand and obtain a series of documents, including executive memos and legal opinions, and testimony from principals such as Vice President Dick Cheney and NSA Director Michael Hayden. In the year and a half since the disclosure of the program in the New York Times in December of 2005, we still have little information regarding how its operations were justified internally. The president and his administration have repeatedly and adamantly claimed that the program was lawful. The ACLU noted that if the administration believes that its wiretapping program operated within the law, it should have no problem handing over documents that would explain its legal basis.

"There should be a clear and decisive investigation into how the administration claims this program cleared legal hurdles," said Michelle Richardson, ACLU Legislative Consultant. "We'll be conducting our own oversight of this process in an effort to make certain all of the facts come to light. Acquiring the documents and testimony listed on our website will assure that the American people will get a clear answer to why their rights and privacy were violated."

The ACLU's Subpoena Watch website is up at:
www.aclu.org/subpoenas

To read more about the work the ACLU has done on NSA Spying, go to:
www.aclu.org/nsaspying

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