Civil liberties group says Bush
domestic spying violates constitution and federal laws
From the American Civil Liberties Union
December 17, 2005
WASHINGTON - The American Civil Liberties Union this week
expressed shock about revelations reported in the New York Times
that President Bush secretly authorized the National Security
Agency to eavesdrop on conversations of Americans and others in
the United States.
According to the report, this spying occurred without any court
order and was focused on telephone and e-mail communications of
"hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people inside the United
States" with persons abroad. Electronic surveillance law
generally prohibits non-consensual eavesdropping in the U.S. without
a court order based on probable cause.
The following can be attributed to Caroline Fredrickson, Director
of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:
"Eavesdropping on conversations of U.S citizens and others
in the United States without a court order and without complying
with the procedures of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act
is both illegal and unconstitutional. The administration is claiming
extraordinary presidential powers at the expense of civil liberties
and is putting the president above the law. Congress must investigate
this report thoroughly. We also call upon Attorney General Alberto
Gonzales to appoint a special prosecutor to independently investigate
whether crimes have been committed.
"The Patriot Act already provides law enforcement a wide
array of surveillance powers and it vastly expands the Foreign
Intelligence Surveillance Act. These disclosures show that the
kinds of safeguards many members of Congress are trying to build
into the Patriot Act are urgently needed."