WASHINGTON - January 25 - President Bush is expected to speak today at the National
Security Agency in Fort Meade, Maryland, to defend his continuing approval of
that agency’s warrantless wiretap program. The American Civil Liberties Union
has denounced that operation because it continues to violate both the letter and
spirit of the law, and renewed its call for comprehensive and open Congressional
hearings and for Attorney General Gonzales to appoint a special counsel to begin
an independent investigation of the program.
The ACLU has also filed a lawsuit against the NSA on behalf of a group of
prominent journalists, nonprofits, terrorism experts and community advocates.
The suit argues that the president's program violates the First and Fourth
Amendment and the separation of powers.
The following can be attributed to Anthony D. Romero, ACLU Executive
"President Bush and his surrogates can justify this program all they want,
but they cannot change the underlying fact that it remains an illegal program.
Our nation was founded upon on the principles of checks and balances and a
respect for the rule of law. The continued approval for this unlawful program
undermines the very freedoms and values that define America.
"Numerous legal scholars, from the left and right, and the non-partisan
Congressional Research Service all agree that the president overstepped his
authority when he approved the program and that he failed to properly brief
Congress, as required by law. From the Palmer Raids to COINTELPRO, many others
have claimed ‘national security’ as a reason to expand the power of the
executive; their intentions did not change the fact that they were violating the
"We applaud Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter for agreeing to
hold hearings and we call on all relevant committees to do the same. A thorough
examination will show that this domestic spying program violates our laws and
our freedoms. America agrees: a new CNN/Gallup/USA Today survey shows that a
majority of Americans said the president was wrong in using these warrantless
wiretaps. The rule of law must be restored."