Monday, June 12, 2006

First Legal Challenge To NSA Program Reaches Courtroom Today

This might be a short hearing.

The National Security Agency's domestic spying program faces its first legal challenge in a case that could decide if the White House is allowed to order eavesdropping without a court order.

Oral arguments are set for Monday at U.S. District Court in Detroit at which the American Civil Liberties Union will ask Judge Anna Diggs Taylor to declare the spying unconstitutional and order it halted...

The ACLU sued the NSA on behalf of scholars, journalists and attorneys, claiming that warrantless wiretaps violate the U.S. Constitution and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, or FISA...

Justice Department lawyers have asked the judge to dismiss the suit because it would reveal state secrets.

Regardless of how the judge rules on state secrets, the government lawyers say Congress granted Bush surveillance privileges by authorizing the use of force against al Qaeda following the Sept. 11 attacks, and that he has the inherent right to order the wiretaps under presidential war powers.

"That is a total misunderstanding of the way the separation of powers are supposed to work in our democracy," said Ann Beeson, the lead ACLU lawyer in the case.

"It is very clear that when the framers (of the Constitution) set up the three branches of government they gave Congress the power to regulate what the president can do even during wartime and emergencies. If they hadn't done that we'd be back to the days of King George III," she said.

The framers of the Constitution had no idea we would be hit on 9-11, apologists will say, so our founding fathers couldn't have foreseen a time when we would be fighting a devious freedom-hatin' enemy.

If we have to throw away our freedom as Americans, so be it.

Because we are fighting a "war on terror."

The apologists clearly aren't having too much success dealing with their own personal terror.


Anonymous Writerious said...

The difficulty with the "I have nothing to hide, so why should I worry?" excuse is that the NSA is data-snooping, looking for patterns that suggest subversive behavior. We ordinary mortals have no clue as to what constitutes "suspicious" activity, nor how "subversive" is defined. U.S. citizens are being detained for no given reason, labeled "enemy combatants," and given no legal rights. It can happen to anyone, even over mistaken identity. And in these days of easy ID theft, even if you keep your life squeaky clean, you never know what someone else is doing with your ID that could have NSA locking its sights on you.

6/12/2006 12:54 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...


Looks like you already have your story ready.

Do you think they will buy it?

6/12/2006 1:03 PM  

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