Hayden Nomination Raises Serious Civil Liberties Concerns

May 8, 2006 12:00 am

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Senate Must Ask Tough Questions of Controversial Nominee

WASHINGTON — Following the announcement that President Bush will nominate General Michael V. Hayden to be the new Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, the American Civil Liberties Union urged the Senate to vigorously question the nominee on his involvement with the warrantless program to spy on Americans. Hayden was the director of the National Security Agency when this illegal program was launched in 2001 and has been one the chief defenders of these actions in violation of the Fourth Amendment and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

The ACLU is a non-partisan organization, and takes no official position on the nomination of any cabinet-level appointees.

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

“The appointment of General Hayden is the latest example of President Bush giving promotions to those who have led the greatest attacks on our Constitution and fundamental freedoms. This administration continues to demonstrate a fundamental lack of respect for the rule of law and our core civil liberties and civil rights. We hope that the Senate will use this opportunity to break through the administration’s stonewalling about the illegal program to spy on Americans without any check. Lawmakers and the American people have a right to know how many people have had their private conversations monitored.

“Hayden’s approval of warrantless surveillance on Americans raises serious questions about whether the CIA would be further unleashed on the American public. It was under General Hayden’s watch that the NSA started to wiretap Americans, without court or Congress’ approval, even though the FISA Court acts quickly to review requests for intelligence investigations. Those who oversee our nation’s intelligence agencies must have the highest respect and regard for our Constitution — not the blatant disregard that individuals like General Hayden have shown. This is also an opportunity for Senators to demand the CIA to disclose its operations that may have run afoul of the Constitution and other federal laws – the practice of extraordinary rendition, the torture and abuse of prisoners and the use of ‘black sites,’ or secret prisons operated overseas. We encourage the Senate to fully investigate this nominee.”

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

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