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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

NSA Spying on our Military: Call to Action from ACLU

Tomorrow night, at the last debate, one thing we can be sure of is that Barack Obama and John McCain will go out of their way to tell us how much they respect America's fighting men and women. There's a simple test that moderator Bob Schieffer can use to see if they mean it.

He can ask them how and when they plan to put an end to our government's ineffective and unnecessary spying on the personal phone calls of innocent Americans, including the phone calls of military personnel serving far away from home.

Late last week, two whistle-blowers -- former National Security Agency (NSA) military intercept operators -- the people who actually listen in on phone calls -- revealed that hundreds of innocent Americans, including soldiers and humanitarian workers for the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders, were routinely and intentionally eavesdropped on.

It's hard to think of a more insulting way to disrespect those serving our nation and the world overseas than intruding on their personal, sometimes intimate, phone calls back home.

Email Bob Schieffer,, and tell him to ask the candidates about warrantless NSA spying on innocent Americans, including military personnel and international relief workers. (Subject of email: Ask a question about US spying on the military).

Anyone vying to be our next Commander in Chief should have a ready answer. The only way to stop this reckless spying is to make sure the NSA does not have unchecked spying power. That is why the ACLU is challenging the FISA Amendments Act with our Amnesty International v. McConnell lawsuit brought on behalf of an impressive array of journalists, human rights organizations and lawyers.

This misguided law -- rushed through a timid pre-election Congress -- gives the government nearly unfettered access to the international phone calls of Americans without any meaningful judicial oversight. Such unchecked and unaccountable power is an outrage and essentially authorizes mass, suspicionless, warrantless spying -- exactly what the ACLU has been fighting to undo since the Bush administration began its illegal warrantless spying program in 2005. Last week’s revelations about NSA spying on our troops and international relief workers makes painfully clear that our government has run amok, spying on innocent Americans while claiming to be spying only on suspected terrorists.

The American people deserve to know whether our next President is committed to bring out-of-control eavesdropping to an end.

Send a message to Mr. Schieffer.

The men and women serving in the military make so many sacrifices for our country. They leave home for months -- even years -- at a time. They put themselves in harm's way, and some of them never return home at all. It is unconscionable that our government has turned their most intimate phone calls into fodder for the amusement of NSA spies.

That's exactly what's happened according to the NSA whistle-blowers' reports. Tomorrow night, Bob Schieffer can ask a simple question and let the candidates tell the American public exactly how they are planning on bringing out-of-control government spying to an end.

Please send a message to Mr. Schieffer today.

The ACLU is leading the fight to stop out-of-control eavesdropping, and we will not yield until we bring this reckless spying to an end. Please stand with us today.

In defense of freedom,
Anthony D. Romero
Anthony D. Romero
Executive Director

P.S. The debate happens tomorrow night. Help to ensure Bob Schieffer asks about this critical issue. Please pass this along to five friends, and take time to send Mr. Schieffer a message right away.

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