2 groups sue U.S. over domestic surveillance
Chicago Tribune | January 18 2006
NEW YORK -- Two lawsuits were filed Tuesday in federal court that seek to end President Bush's electronic eavesdropping program, saying it is illegal and exceeds his constitutional powers.
The lawsuits--one filed in New York by the Center for Constitutional Rights and the other in Detroit by the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups--say the program bypasses safeguards in a 1978 law requiring court approval of electronic monitoring.
The Center for Constitutional Rights, which represents hundreds of men held as enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, must now audit old communications to determine whether "anything was disclosed that might undermine our representation of our clients," said Bill Goodman, the center's legal director.
The Detroit lawsuit said the program has impaired plaintiffs' ability to gather information from sources abroad.
A spokesman for the Justice Department disputed the lawsuits' assertions.
"We believe these cases are without merit and plan to vigorously defend against the charges," Brian Roehrkasse said