Lawsuit Aims to Shine Light on Bush Era Illegal Covert Action
Interview with Nate Cordozo, Open Government Legal Fellow with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, conducted by Scott Harris
On July 22, the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act to demand documents from the CIA, FBI, NSA, and departments of homeland security, defense, energy and state. The suit, filed in a San Francisco federal court, asks for misconduct reports that could reveal illegal or unconstitutional activities carried out under the eight years of the Bush administration. Presidential orders required that U.S. spy agencies report illegal action to the Intelligence Oversight Board, created in 1976, which could then refer potential crimes to the president or the attorney general. However, in a February 2008 Executive Order, President Bush reassigned the power of the board to investigate over to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
Members of Congress have recently made public complaints that the CIA and other intelligence agencies had not kept them informed about covert programs undertaken by the Bush administration. Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has contradicted statements by the CIA that she had been briefed about waterboarding techniques used against U.S.-held prisoners. Press reports allege that former Vice President Dick Cheney had ordered the CIA not to reveal to Congress details about the agency's covert assassination squad targeting al Qaeda operatives. The House Intelligence Committee has recently launched an investigation into the lack of information coming to Congress about the CIA death squad, warrantless domestic surveillance, torture of prisoners and the destruction of videotape recordings of harsh interrogations.
Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Nate Cordozo, Open Government Legal Fellow with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who explains why his group initiated the Freedom of Information lawsuit and the prosecutions that could result from making intelligence agency lawbreaking public.
Contact the Electronic Frontier Foundation by calling (415) 436-9333 or visit their website at www.eff.org.
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