ACLU Rebukes Backdoor Plans to Legalize Warrantless NSA Spying Program, As Judge Rules Justice Department Must Turn Over Documents

February 16, 2006 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON - The American Civil Liberties Union today strongly condemned an apparent backroom deal between Senate Intelligence Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and the White House to try to change domestic surveillance laws to permit the warrantless surveillance of Americans conducted by the National Security Agency.

That announcement came on the heels of a federal court order directing the Justice Department to turn over documents on the NSA's illegal eavesdropping surveillance program within 20 days, or to provide a list of specific documents it is withholding. U.S. District Judge Henry Kennedy's order comes in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that the ACLU joined earlier this month.

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

"This deal is a clear indication that the White House knows it broke the law. Congress must focus on the laws that have already been broken instead of taking steps to reward the White House. This whitewash will not stand. No congressional leader should stoop to help the administration duck responsibility for its already illegal actions. This backdoor plan to cover up the warrantless wiretapping only reinforces the urgent need for a full, open and independent investigation. The rule of law has been broken, and the American people deserve to know the truth."

For more on the ACLU’s concerns with the warrantless NSA spying program, go to: www.aclu.org/nsaspying

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