Human rights groups plan to sue the government. Al Gore sees the constitutional design of checks and balances in grave danger. And the European Parliament adopted resolution concerning Echelon eavesdropping in 2001.
Fulbright Alumnus Bernhard Lucke recommends a speech by Al Gore on the domestic spying program and the "shameful exercise of power" by President Bush. The former vice president said that he was concerned that America’s Constitution was "in grave danger."
The American values we hold most dear have been placed at serious risk by the unprecedented claims of the Administration to a truly breathtaking expansion of executive power. As we begin this new year, the Executive Branch of our government has been caught eavesdropping on huge numbers of American citizens and has brazenly declared that it has the unilateral right to continue without regard to the established law enacted by Congress to prevent such abuses.Not only had the president conceded the eavesdropping on "large volumes of telephone calls, e-mail messages, and other Internet traffic inside the United States […] he also declared that he has no intention of bringing these wholesale invasions of privacy to an end. A president who breaks the law is a threat to the very structure of our government." Considering not only the most recent scandal, but also the disrespect for habeas corpus, the authorization of kidnappings and possibly torture in foreign countries, obvious corruption in Washington and the administration's attempts to undermine the Judicative Branch all give the frightening impression of an "unprecedented claim of new unilateral power" by the Bush administration, Gore contends.
You can read, watch or listen to the whole 12-page speech by Al Gore.
According to the New York Times, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) as well as the Center for Constitutional Rights want to file lawsuits against the Bush administration over its domestic spying program:
The lawsuits seek to answer one of the major questions surrounding the eavesdropping program: has it been used solely to single out the international phone calls and e-mail messages of people with known links to Al Qaeda, as President Bush and his most senior advisers have maintained, or has it been abused in ways that civil rights advocates say could hark back to the political spying abuses of the 1960's and 70's?The NYT also reports that according to FBI agents virtually all of the thousands of NSA tips led to dead ends or innocent Americans:
F.B.I. officials repeatedly complained to the spy agency, which was collecting much of the data by eavesdropping on some Americans' international communications and conducting computer searches of foreign-related phone and Internet traffic, that the unfiltered information was swamping investigators. Some F.B.I. officials and prosecutors also thought the checks, which sometimes involved interviews by agents, were pointless intrusions on Americans' privacy.Der Spindoktor points out that NSA eavesdropping is not anything new to Europeans.
In July 2001, the European Parliament published a report "on the existence of a global system for the interception of private and commercial communications (ECHELON interception system)" and adopted a resolution.