ACLU Rebukes Department of Justice Continued Stonewalling on Wiretapping Questions, Says Accountability and Transparency Needed

March 24, 2006

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                      
Contact: media@dcaclu.org

WASHINGTON -- The American Civil Liberties Union today condemned the continued refusal of the Justice Department to answer basic questions about the National Security Agency’s warrantless program to wiretap Americans.  The Department today sent over its answers to questions about the illegal program from the majority and minority members of the House Judiciary Committee. 

The following can be attributed to Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:

“The Department of Justice continues to refuse to give honest answers to basic questions, such as how many Americans have had their phone calls and e-mails listened to or read by the NSA without a warrant.  Congress and the American people are entitled to the truth.  Knowing how many innocent Americans have had their privacy invaded by this lawless program is not an 'operational' secret--it's the very question a less partisan and more independent Congress asked and got answered in the 1970s.  That's when Congress passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to try to prevent warrantless spying on Americans from happening again. 

“The administration continues to try to get away with stonewalling Congress and the American people.  Congress should not reward presidential obstruction with legislation to whitewash this violation of the Fourth Amendment and federal law.  The current era of ‘trust us, we’re the government’ must end now.  Congress is obligated to investigate this illegal program further and cannot allow the Justice Department and White House to continue to suppress the facts.  The law has been broken, and the people have a right to know how that happened.” 

For more information about the ACLU’s concerns with NSA Spying, go to: www.aclu.org/nsaspying

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