In New York, on January 17, 2006, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed a lawsuit against President George W. Bush, the head of the National Security Agency (NSA), and the heads of the other major security agencies, challenging the NSA’s surveillance of persons within the United States without judicial approval or statutory authorization.
As has been widely reported, for over four years the NSA, with the approval of the president, has engaged in a program of widespread warrantless electronic surveillance of telephone calls and emails in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The suit argues that the NSA Surveillance Program violates a clear criminal law, exceeds the president's authority under Article II of the Constitution, and violates the First and Fourth Amendments. As a result, the President violated his oath of office to take care that the laws of this nation are faithfully executed, and instead secretly violated a criminal prohibition duly enacted by Congress.
CCR Legal Director Bill Goodman said, "On this, the day following Martin Luther King Day, we are saddened that the illegal electronic surveillance that once targeted that great American has again become characteristic of our present government. As was the case with Dr. King, this illegal activity is cloaked in the guise of national security. In reality, it reflects an attempt by the Bush Administration to exercise unchecked power without the inconvenient interference of the other co-equal branches of government."