Gonzales Responses on Warrantless NSA Spying Program Lacking, ACLU Says; Attorney General Failed to Address Fundamental Concerns from Lawmakers

March 1, 2006 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – Attorney General Alberto Gonzales responded yesterday to inquiries from members of the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding the legality of the warrantless surveillance of Americans by the National Security Agency, as authorized by President Bush. The American Civil Liberties Union today called the attorney general’s answers unsatisfactory, noting that they fail to address the fundamental questions surrounding the constitutionality of the illegal program.

The following can be attributed to Lisa Graves, ACLU Senior Counsel for Legislative Strategy:

“Attorney General Gonzales’s letter is unfortunately simply more spin and dissembling from the administration. The letter fails to answer the most important questions about the warrantless eavesdropping program, including how many Americans have had their private communications illegally monitored by the NSA, without a warrant. When Congress wrote the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, lawmakers had answers to these very questions and it would be irresponsible to amend that law without answers to these same fundamental questions that go to the heart of our security and our liberty.

“It is also clear from the letter that the administration’s legal rationale for the warrantless spying program remains a moving target. If the attorney general is serious about proving to the American people that this program is above reproach, he must provide Congress with the facts and papers and not just rhetoric and rationalizations. He should demonstrate his independence from political pressure as the nation’s top prosecutor by appointing a special counsel to fully investigate the program, as requested by the ACLU and members of Congress. The rule of law has been profoundly violated by the administration, and the truth must be brought to light.”

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

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