ACLU Rebukes Justice Department Spin on Warrantless NSA Spying Program, Renews Call for Attorney General Gonzales to Appoint a Special Counsel

January 19, 2006 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON - The American Civil Liberties Union today strongly rebuked analysis provided by the Justice Department that argues that there is a legal basis for the warrantless domestic surveillance conducted by the National Security Agency as authorized by President Bush.

ACLU Sues to Stop Illegal Spying, Saying President Is Not Above the Law (1/17/2006)

Renewed Call for Investigation of Spying Order (1/5/2006)

ACLU Slams DOJ Investigation of NSA Whistleblower (12/30/2005)

NSA Spying on Americans is Illegal

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ACLU Calls for a Special Counsel: Add Your Voice

House Democrats on the Judiciary Committee are scheduled to hold a forum on the issue tomorrow, where the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Director Caroline Fredrickson will testify. On Tuesday of this week, the ACLU filed a legal challenge to the NSA program on behalf of a group of prominent journalists, nonprofits, terrorism experts and community advocates. The ACLU has also called for the appointment of an independent special counsel to investigate the matter and has requested, through the Freedom of Information Act, information about the NSA's program of warrantless spying on Americans.

The following can be attributed to Anthony D. Romero, ACLU Executive Director:

“President Bush and Attorney General Gonzales can manufacture all of the legal justifications they want, but the facts and laws show that this warrantless surveillance violates the First and Fourth Amendment and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

“Any opinion coming from the Justice Department has to be viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism, given Attorney General Gonzales’ involvement in the warrantless spying as White House counsel. The fox may now be guarding the henhouse, which is why we need an independent special counsel.

“Congress must hold open, substantive hearings to let the American public know how their privacy was invaded. The president must not use a claim of preserving the nation as justification to undermine the very principles that define our nation. Freedom, liberty and privacy must be protected and preserved.”

For more on the ACLU’s concerns with the warrantless NSA spying program, go to:

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