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Court, Jail or Congress

December 31, 2005

For [author, journalist and NSA expert James] Bamford, there is only black and white when it comes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, a 1978 law that specifically requires warrants for any NSA wiretapping of U.S. citizens. “If you want to eavesdrop on U.S. citizens, you go to court. If you don’t, you go to jail,” Bamford says. “If you want to change the law, you go to Congress.”

Bamford’s outrage stems, in part, from having been misled by agency officials. For years, he says, his contacts at the NSA repeatedly assured him that the agency was strictly following the letter of the law, even after Sept. 11. At the same time, President Bush assured the American people that “nothing has changed.” “When we’re talking about chasing down terrorists,” Bush said in one speech, “we’re talking about getting a court order before we do so.”

Read the whole article over at Salon.com.

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