WASHINGTON - July 19 - The American Civil Liberties Union today strongly rebuked President Bush for his direct involvement with the suspension of an investigation by the Justice Departmentís Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) into the warrantless surveillance program conducted by the National Security Agency (NSA).
The following can be attributed to Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:
"In America, no one, not even a president, is above the law. And, no one - even the president - should interfere with an investigation into whether laws have been broken and the Constitution was subverted. OPRís own top lawyer noted that the office has never before been prevented from investigating, even when dealing with highly classified information. Clearly, the president has concerns about the legality of the NSA warrantless wiretapping program and the possible consequences of his disregard for the rule of law.
"This latest revelation shows all the more reason why the Attorney General must appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the program. Such steps are necessary to ensure that the inquiry will be free from political agendas. The American people and the Constitution deserve an independent investigator who can, and will, get to the truth.
"Even as these revelations come before the Senate Judiciary Committee, that panel is poised to consider legislation absolving the president of his illegal actions. S. 2453, drafted by Vice-President Dick Cheney and Chairman Arlen Specter, would give the administration a blank check to conduct warrantless surveillance and approve the NSA program. Representatives Heather Wilson, Peter Hoekstra and James Sensenbrenner have introduced legislation that also allows for the NSA warrantless surveillance to continue. Abuse of power must be curtailed, not rewarded."
To read more about the ACLUís concerns with warrantless NSA spying, go to: www.aclu.org/nsaspying.