Thursday, August 17, 2006

NSA Program Unconstitutional

Judge Rules Bush's Surveillance Program Unconstitutional

Associated Press

Detroit - A federal judge ruled Thursday [8/17/06] that the government's
warrantless wiretapping program is unconstitutional and ordered an immediate
halt to it.

U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor in Detroit became the first judge
to strike down the National Security Agency's program, which she says
violates the rights to free speech and privacy as well as the separation of
powers enshrined in the Constitution.

"Plaintiffs have prevailed, and the public interest is clear, in this
matter. It is the upholding of our Constitution," Taylor wrote in her
43-page opinion.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit on behalf of
journalists, scholars and lawyers who say the program has made it difficult
for them to do their jobs. They believe many of their overseas contacts are
likely targets of the program, which involves secretly listening to
conversations between people in the U.S. and people in other countries.

The government argued that the program is well within the president's
authority, but said proving that would require revealing state secrets.

The ACLU said the state-secrets argument was irrelevant because the Bush
administration had already publicly revealed enough information about the
program for Taylor to rule on the case.

"By holding that even the president is not above the law, the court has
done its duty," said Ann Beeson, the ACLU's associate legal director and the
lead attorney for the plaintiffs.

The NSA had no immediate comment on the ruling.

Taylor dismissed a separate claim by the ACLU over data-mining of phone
records by the NSA. She said not enough had been publicly revealed about
that program to support the claim and further litigation could jeopardize
state secrets.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home