White House Reversal on Domestic Spying Program Shouldn't Derail Congressional Investigation
Interview with Shayana Kadidal, Center for Constitutional Rights attorney, conducted by Scott Harris
In a letter to Congress on Jan. 17, Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez announced that the Bush administration had reversed its position and would now place its domestic National Security Agency spying program under the jurisdiction of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, as mandated by a 1978 federal law. Since October of 2001, President Bush had secretly bypassed the FISA court and ordered the warrantless wiretapping of American's phone and electronic communication where there was suspicion of a connection to terrorist activity.
While the Justice Department stated it had negotiated a "creative" new process for court review of surveillance with one of the eleven FISA Court judges, critics are suspicious that the agreement may still violate federal law. Adding to the skepticism was the fact that although the presiding FISA court judge did not object to releasing details of the new process to Congress, Gonzales opposes disseminating operational details to lawmakers.
The timing of the announcement came just after Democrats took control of Congress and two weeks before a federal court was to hear the government's appeal of an earlier ruling declaring the president's surveillance operation illegal and unconstitutional. Through all this, the White House still maintains that their warrantless spy program is legal. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Shayana Kadidal, an attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights -- which along with the ACLU-- have filed lawsuits challenging the legality of the NSA spy program. Kadidal examines the administration's ambiguous reversal and explains why he is pressing for judicial review and congressional investigations into past abuses.
Contact the Center by calling (212) 614-6464 or visit the group's website at www.ccr-ny.org Related links:
American Civil Liberties Union at www.aclu.org
"Bush Warrantless Domestic Spying Program Ruled Unconstitutional," Interview with Michael Avery, president of the National Lawyers Guild, conducted by Scott Harris, Between The Lines Week Ending Sept. 1, 2006
"NSA Domestic Surveillance Tests Constitution," Interview with Chrisopher Pyle, former intelligence officer and professor constitutional law, conducted by Scott Harris, Between The Lines Week Ending May 25, 2006
"Momentum Builds for Congressional Investigation of Bush's Warrantless Surveillance,"Interview with Matthew Rothschild, editor of the Progressive Magazine, conducted by Scott Harris, Between The Lines Week Ending Jan. 1, 2006
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