ACLU Rebukes President's Claim That NSA Domestic Spying Program Is Legal, Says Previous Administration Positions Contradict Statements

January 26, 2006 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – The American Civil Liberties Union today strongly rebuked President Bush’s claims that the National Security Agency’s warrantless wiretap program he authorized is legal and adequately protects civil liberties, and renewed its call for a full and independent investigation of the program.

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

“President Bush’s simple assertion that the warrantless NSA domestic spying program is legal does not make it so. Indeed, the White House’s claims are undermined given the fact that in 2002, the administration rejected legislation offered by Senator Mike DeWine that would have permitted the FBI to obtain FISA warrants if they had “reasonable suspicion’ that subjects were connected to terrorism. The Bush administration rejected this deviation from the “probable cause” standard, as they feared that the change would make the FISA law unconstitutional.

“If the president is so confident of the program’s legality, he should ask Attorney General Gonzales to conduct a full and independent investigation into whether any laws were broken in the operation of the warrantless surveillance program. Otherwise, those who are now defending the program may be the very ones who broke the law in the first place. We can, and must, protect both our national security and our rule of law. The rhetoric of the president and his allies must be matched by their actions.”

To read more about the ACLU’s concerns with the NSA’s warrantless spying program, go to:
/nsaspying

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