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 ACLU and NSA in head court for hearing on domestic surveillance

Latest NewsACLU and NSA in head court for hearing on domestic surveillance
KARE, MN


Critics of the government's domestic surveillance program claim it violates the rights of free speech and privacy. The Bush administration says it is necessary and legal.

Both sides were in court Monday to argue the constitutionality of the program, with the American Civil Liberties Union seeking an immediate halt to warrantless wiretapping.

The Bush administration has asked U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor to dismiss the lawsuit, saying litigation would jeopardize state secrets.

The administration has acknowledged eavesdropping on Americans' international communications without first seeking court approval. President Bush has said the eavesdropping is legal because of a congressional resolution passed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that authorized him to use force in the fight against terrorism.

The parties in the ACLU lawsuit, who include journalists, scholars and ...



lawyers, say the program has hampered their ability to do their jobs because it has made international contacts, such as sources and potential witnesses, wary of sharing information over the phone.

Ann Beeson, the ACLU's associate legal director, said the administration's arguments in defense of the program don't square with the Constitution.

"The framers never intended to give the president the power to ignore the laws of Congress even during wartime and emergencies," she said last week during a conference call with reporters.

She said no state secrets need to be revealed to litigate the case because the administration has already acknowledged the program exists. The Center for Constitutional Rights has filed a similar lawsuit on the eavesdropping in federal court in New York.

By Sarah Karush, Associated Press Writer



 
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