ACLU calls on the Inspectors General of the Intelligence Agencies to Follow the Law and Provide a Public Report on U.S. Wiretapping

October 24, 2008 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – The American Civil Liberties Union calls on the Inspectors General of the Intelligence Agencies to respect the rule of law and make legally required domestic surveillance reports to Congress completely and publically available.

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

“The IGs’ position that the interim report is classified is absurd. The interim report, and all that are to follow, should be made completely and publicly available – no redactions, and no burying them so only a few select Members of Congress can see them, never to see the light of day. The interim report is supposed to define the scope of reports to come. There is no reason why it should be classified.

“When Congress passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments last summer, it demanded little accountability. One of the few things it did ask for was the inclusion of a provision requiring the inspectors general of U.S. intelligence agencies to produce the first public report on the administration’s wiretapping program. Newsweek reports that the first report was not only not made public, but it was marked classified.

“Kudos to both Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-TX) and to Newsweek for bringing to light the latest over-classification from this administration that has been allowed to operate in the shadows. Bush officials stamp secret on every document they can –or in this case, where they can’t.

“Saturday is the 30th anniversary of the original Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Congress never should have passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments – the original FISA was better left as it was and has been for thirty years before being gutted by Congress last summer. But since Congress did pass the Amendments, the government should at least abide by the law and make the reports to Congress public.

“House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-TX), responded to the CIA’s Inspector General with a letter asking him to `please explain why you’re not following the law.’ And, Reyes asked that the CIA’s IG issue a `preservation order’ to ensure that the Bush administration doesn’t destroy records pertaining to the wiretapping program. The ACLU could not agree with Reyes more, there should be no destroying records on the wiretapping program.”

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