- -12-16-05 Report: Americans Spied On (CBS News)
"The National Security Agency has eavesdropped, without warrants, on as many 500 people inside the United States at any given time since 2002, The New York Times reported Friday."
"The Times said reporters interviewed nearly a dozen current and former administration officials about the program and granted them anonymity because of the classified nature of the program."
" 'We're finding out that the president has possibly authorized the breaking of the law so that our government can eavesdrop on American citizens?' Caroline Fredrickson, director of the Washington legislative office of the American Civil Liberties Union, told CBS Radio News. 'We're still trying to process it, but it's truly amazing.' " 12-05
- -12-16-05 Report: Americans Spied On - Rice Denies Illegality (Bloomberg.com)
"The New York Times reported that Bush in 2002 secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop without the court-approved warrants that are required for domestic spying."
"[Secretary of State Condoleeza] Rice, interviewed on NBC's 'Today' show, said 'the president has been very clear that he would not order people to do things that are illegal.' She declined to comment directly on the New York Times report."
"The paper said it interviewed nearly a dozen current and former administration officials about the program and granted them anonymity because the information was classified. The officials said the administration is confident that existing safeguards protect the privacy and civil liberties of Americans, the Times said." 12-05
- -12-18-05 Bush Acknowledges Eavesdropping (CNN News)
"In acknowledging the message was true, President Bush took aim at the messenger Saturday, saying that a newspaper jeopardized national security by revealing that he authorized wiretaps on U.S. citizens after September 11."
"Senators contemplating a vote Friday on whether to renew some controversial portions of the Patriot Act used The New York Times' report as evidence that the government could not be trusted with the broad powers laid out in the act."
""In particular, Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pennsylvania, said such behavior by the executive branch 'can't be condoned,' and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, said the report swayed his decision on the Patriot Act proposal."
Editor's Note: The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act prevents presidents from deciding on their own--without court approval--whether someone in the United States can be spyed upon. In particular, a president cannot skirt the courts based on a claim that he is protecting national security. Court warrants can be issued within hours and should not slow down approval of justified spying; further, spying can begin immediately in emergencies, as long as the justification is court approved within 3 days of starting. The law was designed to prevent abuse of power by the president and ensure protection of civil liberties. 12-05
- -12-18-05 Testing Wartime Limits (MSNBC News)
"In his four-year campaign against al Qaeda, President Bush has turned the U.S. national security apparatus inward to secretly collect information on American citizens on a scale unmatched since the intelligence reforms of the 1970s."
"The Post reported that the FBI has issued tens of thousands of national security letters, extending the bureau's reach as never before into the telephone calls, correspondence and financial lives of ordinary Americans. Most of the U.S. residents and citizens whose records were screened, the FBI acknowledged, were not suspected of wrongdoing."
"The burgeoning use of national security letters coincided with an unannounced decision to deposit all the information they yield into government data banks -- and to share those private records widely, in the federal government and beyond. In late 2003, the Bush administration reversed a long-standing policy requiring agents to destroy their files on innocent American citizens, companies and residents when investigations closed." 12-05
- CIA Charged With Criminal Abductions (Observer International News)
"The abduction is alleged to be part of America's 'rendition programme', in which terrorist suspects are forcibly removed to their home countries or to a third nation, where they can be interrogated without legal protection."
"Earlier last week, an Italian judge issued arrest warrants for 13 people said to be CIA operatives involved in Omar's abduction. Another six people - all Americans - are also under investigation. It is the first time a foreign government has filed criminal charges against US citizens involved in counter-terrorism work abroad."
"Other nations have also begun to oppose Washington's forcible removal of terror suspects. Canada is holding hearings into the deportation of a Canadian to Syria for questioning about alleged ties to al-Qaeda. German prosecutors are conducting a criminal investigation into the suspected kidnapping of a German man who was flown to Afghanistan. In Stockholm, a parliamentary investigator has already concluded that CIA agents violated Swedish law by subjecting two Egyptian nationals to 'degrading and inhuman treatment' during a rendition in 2001." 6-05