Congressional Research Service Reports Support NACDL’s Suit to Stop Illegal Government Eavesdropping
Washington, DC (February 3, 2006) – The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers welcomes the Senate Judiciary Committee’s opportunity to thoroughly question Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on the administration’s legal reasoning which purports to authorize warrantless domestic electronic eavesdropping. As plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed against the National Security Agency Jan. 17, we also encourage the committee to demand that the Justice Department turn over any legal memoranda purporting to justify the NSA program, using its subpoena power if necessary.
Legal analyses by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service published Jan. 6 and Jan. 18 support the lawsuit filed last month by the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Council on American Islamic Relations, and named individual plaintiffs in federal court in Detroit. The Jan. 6 report analyzes the President’s authorities and responsibilities under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The Jan. 18 report strongly suggests the White House violated the National Security Act of 1947, as amended, by not keeping the House and Senate Intelligence Committees “fully and currently informed” as required by that law. Links to both reports are reproduced below.
Our lawsuit, which seeks declaratory and injunctive relief to force the NSA to cease and desist warrantless interception of American’s electronic and telephone conversations. Such surveillance seriously compromises the First Amendment’s guarantees of freedom of speech, of the press, and of association, the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on warrantless searches and seizures, and the attorney-client privilege.
The effect of this unlawful program is chilling – it chills journalists’ relationships with sources both domestic and foreign, and it chills the attorney-client relationship. Many of NACDL’s clients and witnesses are in foreign countries. The NSA’s illegal interception program now forces our members to travel overseas to have even a simple, but sensitive, conversation.
We hope that most Americans will realize that indiscriminate government eavesdropping is an extremely serious problem of Constitutional proportions. The ability to intrude on our most private communications and political and religious associations is the power to embarrass, disgrace or ruin an individual. As a Jan. 17 New York Times article pointed out, the web of interceptions entangled many thousands of innocent communications – far more than the FBI could efficiently handle. If the President had complied with the probable cause requirement of the Fourth Amendment and the federal wiretap laws, the agency would not have violated the privacy of so many innocent Americans or created the massive backlog of interceptions it is now saddled with.
The NACDL also demands that all unlawful interceptions and copies be permanently destroyed without delay.
Since there is considerable doubt now that the President and Attorney General even attempted to comply with the National Security Act or the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, Congress and the courts must exert their own independent roles to assure that no other executive agencies are being misused in contravention of U.S. laws and are otherwise impinging on the civil liberties of American citizens.
Continue reading below
DOWNLOAD THE COMPLAINT:
DOWNLOAD THE CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE REPORTS:
National Security Act Report (1/18/06):
Continue reading below
Pattern Cross-Examination of Expert Witnesses: A Trial Strategy & Resource Guide
In a criminal trial, cross-examination of the prosecution’s forensic expert may make the difference between victory or defeat.
2020 Sample Motions Collection Update
NACDL’s 2020 Sample Motions Collection is the follow-up to our wildly popular 2019 Sample Motions Collection and contains the newest and most recent additions to our ever-expanding Sample Motions library.
State v. Stone - A Case Study on Child Sexual Molestation & Sexual Battery
The criminal defense attorney tasked with defending such a case has to be prepared to not only show reasonable doubt, but to answer this question: If it did not happen, how is it that the child believes it did happen?
POZNER ON CROSS: Advanced Cross of Experts & Officers in DUI Cases
It’s not your strong opening argument. It’s not how many of your impassioned objections the judge sustains. It’s not even how you tie your theory of the case together with a dazzling closing statement bow. What wins your trial is your cross.
Presidential Authority to Conduct Warrantless Electronic Surveillance (1/05/06):
CLIENTS IN THE ACLU / NACDL / CAIR v. NSA SPY-PROGRAM LAWSUIT
Continue reading below
This is a sponsored ad
Generating Qualified Leads for NACDL Attorneys
Council on American-Islamic Relations
Arsalan T. Iftikhar
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Joshua Dratel, Attorney at Law (Read client statement)
Nancy Hollander, Attorney at Law (Read client statement)
James Bamford, journalist/author
Larry Diamond, Hoover Institution, Stanford University
Christopher Hitchens, journalist/author
Tara McKelvey, journalist/author
Barnett Rubin, New York University Center on International Cooperation
NACDL Communications Department
The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal justice system.