Church, Rights Groups Sue NSA Over Spying

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Church, Rights Groups Sue NSA Over Spying

WASHINGTON - AP reports: “Rights activists, church leaders and drug and gun rights advocates found common ground and filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against the federal government to halt a vast National Security Agency electronic surveillance program.

“The lawsuit was filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which represents the unusually broad coalition of plaintiffs, and seeks an injunction against the NSA, Justice Department, FBI and directors of the agencies.

“Filed in federal court in San Francisco, it challenges what the plaintiffs describe as an ‘illegal and unconstitutional program of dragnet electronic surveillance.’

“The suit came after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked details about NSA surveillance programs earlier this year, revealing a broad U.S. intelligence program to monitor Internet and telephone activity to ferret out terror plots.”

SHAHID BUTTAR, media at bordc.org, @bordc
Buttar is executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. He wrote the piece “FBI & NSA Spying Revealed: Uncle Sam Is Watching You, and Both Congress and the Courts Are Complicit” He said today: “BORDC is proud to be represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation in this effort to finally force accountability on the national security state. For too long, government secrecy has insulated these programs, not only from judicial review (see Clapper v Amnesty), but also from legislative efforts to repeal noxious and un-American laws including the USA PATRIOT Act and the FISA Amendments Act of 2008. Now that at least some facts are in the public domain, it is vital that the federal courts prove their independence by checking and balancing unconstitutional government surveillance abusing the rights of hundreds of millions of Americans.”

RICK HOYT, minister at uula.org
Rev. Hoyt is minister at the First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles and today: “The First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles has a proud history of working for justice and protecting people in jeopardy for expressing their political views. In the 1950s, we resisted the McCarthy hysteria and supported blacklisted Hollywood writers and actors, and we fought California’s ‘loyalty oaths’ all the way to the Supreme Court. And in the 1980s, we gave sanctuary to refugees from civil wars in Central America. The principles of our faith often require our church to take bold stands on controversial issues. We joined this lawsuit to stop the illegal surveillance of our members and the people we serve. Our church members and our neighbors who come to us for help should not fear that their participation in the church might have consequences for themselves or their families. This spying makes people afraid to belong to our church community.”

A news release for the coalition states: “At the heart of First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles v. NSA is the bulk telephone records collection program that was confirmed by last month’s publication of an order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC). The Director of National Intelligence (DNI) further confirmed that this formerly secret document was legitimate and part of a broader program to collect all major telecommunications customers’ call histories. …

“In addition to the First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles, the full list of plaintiffs in this case includes the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Calguns Foundation, Greenpeace, Human Rights Watch, People for the American Way, and TechFreedom.”

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A nationwide consortium, the Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA) represents an unprecedented effort to bring other voices to the mass-media table often dominated by a few major think tanks. IPA works to broaden public discourse in mainstream media, while building communication with alternative media outlets and grassroots activists.

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