The American Civil Liberties Union today urged the House Judiciary Committee to adopt several resolutions that would formally request any and all documents relating to the illegal National Security Agency domestic spying program authorized by President Bush. “The need for a comprehensive investigation into the NSA’s domestic surveillance is essential to find out exactly which laws were broken,” said Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “
Limit the CIA, under the new name of the Foreign Intelligence Agency, to collecting and evaluatiing foreign intelligence information. Abolish all covert operations. Limit the FBI to criminal investigations by elimimnating all COINTEL-PRO-type activity and all foreign and domestic intelligence investigations of groups or individuals unrelated to a specific criminal offense. Prohibit entirely wiretaps, tapping of telecommunications and burglaries. Restrict mail openings, mail covers, inspection of bank records, and inspection of telephone records by requiring a warrant issued on probable cause to believe a crime has been committed. Prohibit all domestic intelligence and political information-gathering. Only investigations of crimes which have been, are being, or are about to be committed may be conducted.
The ACLU opposes, and has fought in either Congress or the courts, virtually all "covert action," most "clandestine intelligence" gathering (i.e. spying), and in one case aid to an important U.S. ally with a poor human rights record. The net effect of these efforts has been to hinder U.S. opposition to Communist expansion. The ACLU may, at some point, have undertaken some major initiative that advanced U.S. interests and hindered Communist expansion, but our research never turned one up and no ACLU leader ever mentioned one to us.
In response to newly released images of abuse at Abu Ghraib, the American Civil Liberties Union today renewed its call for an independent investigation into widespread and systemic abuse in U.S. detention centers in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay.
The ACLU has sued the Department of Defense for withholding photographs and videos depicting abuse at Abu Ghraib and other detention facilities. In September, a federal judge in New York ruled that the government must turn over the Abu Ghraib images, as well as other visual evidence of abuse, noting "the freedoms that we champion are as important to our success in Iraq and Afghanistan as the guns and missiles with which our troops are armed." The decision is currently on appeal by the government. The ACLU said it does not know whether the new photos aired by the Australian "Dateline" program are the same photos being withheld by the government.