Warrantless eavesdropping violates rights


    United States citizens’ right to free speech and privacy was reasserted when U.S. District Court Judge Anna Diggs Taylor ruled President Bush and his administration’s warrantless wiretapping unconstitutional and ordered an immediate halt August 17.Taylor said the wiretapping and eavesdropping conflicted with the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which requires the government to obtain a warrant from a special intelligence court before it can intercept communications from Americans.

    The tappings allowed the National Security Agency to listen in on calls either placed or received by Americans, which also involved suspected terrorists.

    The push for the wiretapping to be stopped was led by the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU said they filed the lawsuit because journalists, lawyers, and scholars were having difficulties performing their jobs due to the wiretapping.

    Along with these three groups, a large portion of the country had a problem with the government unlawfully listening in on their phone calls just because the person on the other end of the line had a Muslim surname.

    According the Associated Press, the Justice Department has already filed for an appeal, and released a statement saying the program is “an essential tool for the intelligence community in the war on terror.”

    Because the department has filed an appeal, Taylor’s call for an immediate cease in the tappings won’t take effect until after she has the opportunity to hear the appeal.

    The Justice Department said “the Constitution gives the president the full authority necessary to carry out that solemn duty, and we believe the program is lawful and protects civil liberties.”

    If the program is such an essential tool, then why didn’t Bush go through the proper producers to ensure neither he nor anyone else in his administration were not breaking any federal laws.

    After all, isn’t calling people a suspected terrorist knowing next to nothing about them just another form of racial profiling.

    -Opinion editor Jeff Eskew for the editorial board