Tuesday, January 17, 2006
The Associated Press - 7 minutes ago
NEW YORK - Civil liberties groups filed lawsuits in two cities Tuesday seeking to block's domestic eavesdropping program, arguing the electronic surveillance of American citizens was unconstitutional.
The U.S. District Court lawsuits were filed in New York by the Center for Constitutional Rights and in Detroit by the.
Former Vice President Al Gore, right, gestures while addressing the American Constitution Society on the threat to the Constitution from President Bush's domestic wiretap policy, Monday, Jan. 16, 2006 at the DAR Constitution Hall in Washigton. Gore asserted Monday that President Bush "repeatedly and persistently" broke the law by eavesdropping on Americans without a court warrant. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
The New York suit, filed on behalf of the center and individuals, names President Bush, the head of the National Security Agency, and the heads of the other major security agencies, challenging the NSA's surveillance of persons within the United States without judicial approval or statutory authorization.
It seeks an injunction that would prohibit the government from conducting surveillance of communications in the United States without warrants.
The Detroit suit, which also names the NSA, was filed with the ACLU along with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Greenpeace and several individuals.
Messages seeking comment were left Tuesday morning with the National Security Agency and the Justice Department.
Bush, who said the wiretapping is legal and necessary, has pointed to a congressional resolution passed after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, that authorized him to use force in the fight against terrorism as allowing him to order the program.
The program authorized eavesdropping of international phone calls and e-mails of people deemed a terror risk.
The Detroit lawsuit says the plaintiffs, who frequently communicate by telephone and e-mail with people in the Middle East and Asia, have a "well-founded belief" that their communications are being intercepted by the government.
"By seriously compromising the free speech and privacy rights of the plaintiffs and others, the program violates the First and Fourth Amendments of the United States Constitution," the lawsuit states.
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Source: AP-Yahoo News.
Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
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