Democratic Hearing On Domestic Spying Program
Congressman John Conyers, Jr.
Michigan, 14th District
Ranking Member, U.S. House
Dean, Congressional Black Caucus
For Immediate Release:
Contact: Dena Graziano
January 10, 2006 202-225-1294
Conyers and Others To Hold Democratic Hearing On Domestic Spying Program
Release Letter from Lawrence Tribe describing Bush Administration Legal Justifications for program as "legal poppycock"
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressmen John Conyers, Jr., Bobby Scott and Chris Van Hollen and other Members will hold a Democratic Hearing to consider the legal ramifications of President Bush's warrantless surveillance.
Regarding the hearing, Conyers stated, "last month all 17 House Judiciary Democrats called on Chairman Sensenbrenner to convene hearings to investigate the President's use of the National Security Agency to conduct surveillance involving U.S. citizens on U.S. soil, in apparent contravention of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. As our request has since been ignored, it is our job, as Members of Congress, to review the program and consider whether our criminal laws have been violated and our citizen's constitutional rights trampled upon. We simply cannot tolerate a situation where the Administration is operating as prosecutor, judge and jury and excluding Congress and the courts from providing any meaningful check or balance to the process."
Conyers also released an important legal opinion from the esteemed constitutional scholar Lawrence Tribe finding that the NSA program was not only illegal, but violated separation of powers. Among other things, Professor Tribe's analysis found that "the technical term for [the Bush Administration's legal arguments] I believe is poppycock" and "the presidential program is a violation of separation of powers - as grave an abuse of executive authority as I can recall ever having studied." Regarding the opinion, Conyers stated "Tribe's analysis makes clear that not only is the NSA's program is covered by FISA, but the Afghanistan use of force resolution offer no support for the president being able to wiretap U.S. citizens. We simply cannot tolerate an Administration that holds itself above and beyond the reach of the law."
WHO: Reps. John Conyers, Jr., Bobby Scott and Chris Van Hollen
Witnesses: Bruce Fein - former Associate Deputy AGl under Reagan
Professor Jonathon Turley - George Washington Law School
Jeff Smith - former CIA General Counsel
Caroline Frederickson - ACLU
WHEN: Friday, January 20, 2006 @ 10:00