Jan. 17 (Bloomberg) — The American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights sued President George W. Bush and the National Security Agency to stop them from conducting wiretaps on U.S. citizens without court approval.
The two New York-based groups filed separate suits asking federal judges to stop the wiretapping, which Bush has said was authorized when Congress gave him the power to use force in the war on terror. Bush has said the government is monitoring phone calls of Americans suspected of talking to members of the al- Qaeda terror network.
“President Bush may believe he can authorize spying on Americans without judicial or Congressional approval, but this program is illegal and we intend to put a stop to it,” said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero in a statement today.
The ACLU suit was filed in federal court in Detroit today, while the Center for Constitutional Rights filed its suit in New York federal court.
Don Weber, a spokesman for the NSA, did not return a phone message and e-mail seeking comment. A phone message left with the U.S. Department of Justice was not returned.