Saturday, August 18, 2007

FISA Court Orders Bush-Cheney Administration to Respond to ACLU Requests for Key Rulings

FISA Court Orders Bush-Cheney Administration to Respond to ACLU Requests for Key Rulings

August 17, 2007 (LPAC)--The FISA Court has told the Bush-Cheney Administration that it must respond to a request for the key legal opinions which provide the backdrop to the White House's demand that Congress give it expanded wiretapping power.

The court is requiring the government to respond to a motion filed ten days ago by the ACLU, asking for two of the court's rulings in particular. The first is a January 10, 2007 order which apparently permitted the program which the White House calls the "Terrorist Surveillance Program'' to come under court supervision -- although apparently in a more limited manner than the way the original program directed by Vice President Dick Cheney operated -- which LPAC and EIR believe involved the "data-mining'' of information obtained by tapping into the major telecommunications hubs.

The second is a ruling, apparently around March of this year, which reportedly held that the government could not tap any communications passing through communications hubs inside the United States, without a court order. That ruling was used as the pretext by the White House to demand the power to monitor almost any telephone call which may involve a party overseas, not limited to terrorist suspects.

"Disclosure of these court orders and legal papers is essential to the ongoing debate about government surveillance,'' said Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU. "We desperately need greater transparency and public scrutiny. We're extremely encouraged by today's development because it means that, at long last, the government will be required to defend its contention that the orders should not be released.''

The court ordered the government to respond by August 31.