and NSA in head court for hearing on domestic surveillance
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.
sides were in court Monday to argue the constitutionality of the program, with
the American Civil Liberties Union seeking an immediate halt to warrantless
The Bush administration has asked U.S. District Judge Anna
Diggs Taylor to dismiss the lawsuit, saying litigation would jeopardize state
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