News Release

Bush and Hayden vs. The Law?


“I have two paths in front of me, both of them lawful, one FISA, one the presidential — the president’s authorization.”
Michael Hayden, National Press Club, January 23, 2006

“Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 shall be the exclusive means by which electronic surveillance … may be conducted.”
FISA; 18 U.S.C. Sec. 2511(f)

CIA director-nominee Michael Hayden was head of the National Security Agency when its warrantless wiretapping program was reportedly initiated and he has been a leading defender of it since its existence became public.

Cassel is director of Notre Dame Law School’s Center for Civil and Human Rights. He said today: “The claim of authority to eavesdrop on the phone calls and emails of U.S. citizens rests on a dangerously expansive reading of presidential powers under the Constitution and an indefensible reading of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. In short, the eavesdropping program is a federal crime and those responsible for it ought to be prosecuted, not nominated for high public office.”
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Professor Pyle is co-author of the book The President, Congress, and the Constitution and author of the book Military Surveillance of Civilian Politics. In 1970, Pyle disclosed the U.S. military’s surveillance of civilian politics and worked as a consultant to three Congressional committees, including the Church Committee — which wrote the FISA statute. Pyle is currently a professor of politics at Mount Holyoke College.
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167