ACLU Exposes New Government Spying on Innocent Americans

ACLU v. NSA Clients Respond to White House Claims

Clients in the ACLU's lawsuit against the NSA share their thoughts about the White House spin on its illegal spying program. Play the audio or download the podcast.

Stop Illegal Spying! Send an eCard and tell friends about this issue today! President Bush failed to adequately address serious questions about the warrantless domestic spying program conducted by the National Security Agency in his State of the Union address this Tuesday. Over the past two weeks, the White House spin machine has continued to mislead the public about the legality and necessity of this program.

Bush claimed last week that the NSA spying program is actually "designed to protect civil liberties." But the truth is that this warrantless spying is part of a wide-ranging pattern of abuses of power that include the monitoring of peaceful political protestors and government labeling of groups like Greenpeace and PETA as terrorist organizations.

In the wake of evidence revealing Pentagon surveillance of peace groups and protest activities, the ACLU and its affiliates across the country Wednesday filed multiple Freedom of Information Act requests seeking to uncover who is being spied on by the Pentagon and why.

"The Pentagon's monitoring of anti-war protesters is yet another example of a government agency using its powers to spy on law-abiding Americans who criticize U.S. policies," said ACLU staff attorney Ben Wizner. "How can we believe that the National Security Agency is intercepting only al Qaeda phone calls when we have evidence that the Pentagon is keeping tabs on Quakers in Fort Lauderdale?"

The ACLU filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests on behalf of the American Friends Service Committee, Veterans for Peace, United for Peace and Justice and Greenpeace, as well as dozens of local groups in Florida, Georgia, Rhode Island, Maine, Pennsylvania and California. The ACLU is seeking the disclosure of all documents maintained by the Department of Defense on the individual groups. Many of the groups involved in today's action have already learned that they are listed in the Pentagon's Threat and Local Observation Notice (TALON) database.

The TALON program was initiated by former Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz in 2003 to track groups and individuals with possible links to terrorism. But according to portions of the database that were leaked to the media in December, the Pentagon has been collecting information on peaceful activists and monitoring anti-war and anti-military recruiting protests throughout the United States.

This latest series of FOIA requests is another step in the ACLU's multi-pronged effort to put an end to unwarranted domestic spying and curb the Bush Administration's abuse of power.

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