CLEVELAND- As President Bush readies for his trip to Cleveland on Monday, March 20, the ACLU of Ohio renews its call for Congress to investigate the warrantless wiretapping conducted by the National Security Agency. To date, Congress has only conducted a few hearings on the subject and has not initiated a full-fledged investigation into who is responsible for the illegal spying and to what extent it has been used.
ACLU of Ohio Executive Director Christine Link said, “It is clear that this administration authorized wiretaps without following existing laws requiring judicial oversight and a minimum burden of proof. Despite the President asserting that he has the power to order these types of surveillance measures without honoring due process and submitting to some oversight, both the Constitution and federal law clearly indicate otherwise.”
Link went on, “Legislators have an obligation to investigate this grave violation of civil liberties and hold those who violated the law accountable.”
The National ACLU filed a federal lawsuit in Detroit, Michigan on January 17, 2006 attempting to stop the illegal wiretaps. Despite mounting public opposition of government spying, Congress has yet to conduct a thorough investigation to determine who authorized the wiretaps and where accountability for the illegal acts lies.
The ACLU of Ohio has also uncovered other government spying in northeast Ohio. In January, the ACLU of Ohio announced an investigation into reports that the government spied on area Quakers and peace activists who were conducting meetings and engaging in peaceful demonstrations.
Link added, “Congress must exert their authority and investigate these troubling incidents of government surveillance. If no one is held accountable, it sends a clear message that these violations are acceptable, and they are clearly not.”