Wednesday, January 18, 2006

ACLU Sues to Stop Illegal Spying on Americans, Saying President Is Not Above the Law

Saying that the Bush administration’s illegal spying on Americans must end, the American Civil Liberties Union today filed a lawsuit against the National Security Agency seeking to stop a secret electronic surveillance program that has been in place since shortly after September 11, 2001.

“President Bush may believe he can authorize spying on Americans without judicial or Congressional approval, but this program is illegal and we intend to put a stop to it,” said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero.

ACLU Associate Legal Director Ann Beeson said “President Bush's claim that he is not bound by the law is simply astounding. Our democratic system depends on the rule of law, and not even the president can issue illegal orders that violate Constitutional principles.”

President Bush signed an order in 2002 allowing the NSA to monitor the telephone and e-mail communications of "hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people inside the United States" with persons abroad, without a court order as the law requires.

In the legal complaint filed, the ACLU said the spying program violates Americans’ rights to free speech and privacy under the First and Fourth Amendments of the Constitution. The ACLU also charged that the program violates the Constitution because President Bush exceeded his authority under separation of powers principles.

Mr. Bush shouldn't worry because they don't usually enforce the death penalty for individuals of diminished capacity.

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