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Published:July 20th, 2007 13:12 EST
White House Needs More Time to Answer Spying Questions

White House Needs More Time to Answer Spying Questions

By SOP newswire

 

One day before a deadline to respond to Senate subpoenas, the Bush White House asked for an extension to respond to requests for information on the NSA`s warrantless wiretapping program. Senator Leahy and the Judiciary Committee granted the request for more time but urged the White House to "use this additional time constructively."

The subpoenas, issued on June 27 by the Senate Judiciary Committee, were sent to the White House, the Office of the Vice President, National Security Council and the Justice Department asking for documents related to the National Security Agency`s warrantless wiretapping program. Congress resorted to subpoenas after its requests for the information were rebuffed by the Administration nine times, despite the fact that the Committee was not seeking program details, only documents related to the legal justification of the program. The ACLU is concerned that this latest delay is another example of the administration`s persistent stonewalling and its refusal to be held accountable.

"We urge Congress not to allow the White House to use this delay as a tactic to once again evade oversight," said Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. "Cooperation with these congressional subpoenas is crucial to our system of checks and balances and this executive branch is quite literally overdue. The end result of any new deadline must be compliance and accountability."

In the meantime, the ACLU continues its legal fight to have the president`s wiretapping plan declared unconstitutional. Earlier this month, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed last year`s District Court ruling which declared that the program violates the First Amendment, the Fourth Amendment, and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

The Sixth Circuit ruled that the ACLU`s clients were not entitled to sue because they could not state with certainty that they had been wiretapped by the NSA. This wrong-headed ruling poses an obvious dilemma given the secrecy of the program. We are currently reviewing all of our legal options, including taking this challenge to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Keep up to date on the White House`s compliance with the subpoenas at http://www.subpoenawatch.org/.

Source:ACLU Online"