Media Advisory
For immediate release

CINCINNATI - A federal appeals court will hear arguments on Wednesday, January 31, in the landmark American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit challenging the National Security Agency's warrantless wiretapping of Americans. Experts, activists and Americans who have been subject to government surveillance will also attend the hearing.

A district court judge previously ruled that the NSA program is unconstitutional and violates the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Stating that there are "no hereditary kings in America and no power not created by the Constitution," Judge Anna Diggs Taylor ordered the president to shut down the illegal program. The federal government appealed the ruling.

The Bush administration recently conceded that the judicial branch has a role in overseeing surveillance by the NSA, and announced that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court issued secret orders approving the surveillance. However, the Justice Department refused to confirm whether the orders generally authorize the program as opposed to authorizing surveillance of individual persons based on probable cause. The ACLU said that generalized program warrants are unconstitutional and violate FISA.

Last week, the Bush administration filed legal papers seeking to dismiss the ACLU lawsuit because the NSA surveillance is now under the review of the secret intelligence court. But the ACLU is filing a brief today opposing the government's motion and pressing the appeals court to rule on the case, stating that the president still claims to retain the "inherent authority" to engage in wiretapping without the oversight of the FISA court. The ACLU also said that without more information about what the secret FISA court has authorized, there is no way to determine whether the NSA's current activities are lawful. The ACLU's brief will be available online today at:

Following Wednesday's hearing, the ACLU will hold a press conference on the courthouse steps with attorneys and clients in the case, including NSA expert James Bamford, criminal defense attorney Nancy Hollander, and Nazih Hassan of the Muslim Community Association of Ann Arbor. Activists from Michigan, Maine, Ohio, Texas, California, Washington and Rhode Island will also be present.

The case is ACLU v. National Security Agency, Docket No. 06-2095. More information is online at:

WHAT: Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals hearing on NSA warrantless
surveillance program, and post-hearing press conference

WHO: ACLU Associate Legal Director Ann Beeson will argue before
Judges Alice Batchelder, Ronald Gilman and Julia Gibbons

WHEN: Wednesday, January 31, 2007, 3:00 p.m. EST

WHERE: Potter Stewart U.S. Courthouse (540)
Sixth Floor East Courtroom, Room 607
100 E. Fifth Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202