Yesterday a group of staffers from our Washington, D.C., Legislative Office met with officials from the Department of Justice to get the lowdown on what the new FISA law really means to Americans’ civil liberties. Unfortunately, we didn’t quite get the answers we were looking for, and didn’t learn anything beyond what the news reports were telling us. (We did enjoy this headline from a press report on the meeting.)
Today, Anthony Romero blogs in the Huffington Post about our request to meet with AG Gonzales face-to-face to get the answers we’re looking for:
The ACLU is gravely concerned that Congress failed to mandate any protections for Americans whose conversations are swept up in these dragnets and instead left the responsibility to protect our privacy and constitutional freedoms solely with Alberto Gonzales. Our nation’s founders devised our American system of checks and balances because they knew that vesting broad, unchecked power in one person or one branch of government would lead to mistakes and abuse. Congress not only ignored the wisdom of our founders, they ceded broad new powers to an attorney general with a track record of contempt for the Constitution and civil liberties. And we need to hold Congress accountable for its complicity and capitulation.
We’re asking the attorney general to meet with us and tell us how he will uphold his oath of office, in which he swore to support and defend the Constitution. He doesn’t have a great track record of doing so in the past, but one can always hope.