Re: The President’s Surveillance Program
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Statement of U.S. Senator Russ Feingold
On the Inspectors General Report on President Bush’s Warrantless Wiretapping Program
“This valuable report highlights just how outrageous and damaging the illegal warrantless wiretapping program really was. Although more information can and should be declassified, the unclassified version of the report underscores the dangers of operating a hidden, illegal program for years. It documents the internal conflicts and chaos surrounding the purported legal authorizations, and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’s highly misleading congressional testimony. Notably, the report calls into serious question the repeated assertions from Bush Administration officials, especially during debate over the so-called Protect America Act and the FISA Amendments Act, that stopping the program would have had catastrophic results.
“This report leaves no doubt that the warrantless wiretapping program was blatantly illegal and an unconstitutional assertion of executive power. I once again call on the Obama administration and its Justice Department to withdraw the flawed legal memoranda that justified the program and that remain in effect today.”
An elaboration from Feingold’s press secretary:
In his statement, he called on the Obama administration to withdraw flawed legal memoranda that justified the program and that remain in effect today. The memoranda Senator Feingold is referring to are outlined in this April 29th letter he sent to President Obama following the administration’s declassification of several OLC memoranda. In particular, Senator Feingold stated in the letter that the “administration’s efforts should begin with the withdrawal of the already unclassified January 19,2006 Department of Justice Legal Authorities Supporting the Activities of the National Security Agency Described by the President (“NSA Legal Authorities White Paper”), which was affirmed as recently as January 15,2009 in the Memorandum for the Files Re: Status of Certain OLC Opinions Issued in the Aftermath of the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001 by Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Steven Bradbury.”