President Defends NSA Wiretapping After Court Calls It Unconstitutional

U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor ruled Thursday that wiretaps meant to weed out suspected terrorists violated free speech and privacy rights, and the constitutional check on the president.

The Department of Justice immediately said it would appeal the decision to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.

“I believe our appeals will be upheld,” President Bush said Friday, according to Reuters. Those who agree with the decision “simply do not understand the nature of the world in which we live,” he said, and referred to the arrests in Britain of those allegedly plotting to blow up U.S.-bound airliners.

The NSA program monitors phone calls and e-mails between people in the United States and overseas with the intention of zeroing in on those involved in terrorist activities.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit in January on behalf of journalists, scholars and lawyers who said the program was interfering with their work.

The ACLU claimed the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which set up a secret court to grant warrants for such surveillance, gave the government enough tools to monitor suspected terrorists, reported the Associated Press.

Taylor, an appointee of former President Carter, said the government appeared to argue that the program was beyond judicial review.

“It was never the intent of the framers to give the president such unfettered control, particularly where his actions blatantly disregard the parameters clearly enumerated in the Bill of Rights,” she wrote. “The three separate branches of government were developed as a check and balance for one another.”

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