from ImpeachBush Website


Bush has admitted to authorizing the NSA, a secretive spy agency, to conduct warrantless wire taps on American citizens. The spying even extends to postal mail.


The NSA has also been collecting phone records in an attempt to build a database of every phone call that is made.


  1. 2003

    - Mark Klein, a retired AT&T communications technician, submitted an affidavit in support of the Electronic Fronteir Foundation's FF's lawsuit against AT&T. He testified that in 2003 he connected a "splitter" that sent a copy of Internet traffic and phone calls to a secure room that was operated by the NSA in the San Francisco office of AT&T.


    He heard from a co-worker that similar rooms were being constructed in other cities, including Seattle, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego. From "Whistle-Blower Outs NSA Spy Room", Wired News, 4/7/06 [Wired] [EFF Case]

  2. 12/15/05

    - The New York Times reveals that,

    • "Months after the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying, according to government officials."


    The Bush wiretaps violated US law because he was required to get approval from FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act). He can start a wiretap of a suspected terrorist at any time but must then seek approval to continue within 72 hours.

  3. Attorney General Gonzales claims HJR114 gave Bush authority to conduct the wiretaps. But HJR114 only grants use of the "Armed Forces". HJR114 does not explicitly suspend the Constitution.


    Also HJR114 requires,

    • "The President shall, at least once every 60 days, submit to the Congress a report on matters relevant to this joint resolution, including actions taken pursuant to the exercise of authority granted in section 3".

    Congress was not notified of these wiretaps. [HJR114]

  4. Bush may have bypassed FISA because he wanted to listen to and analyze all international signals, not just those of suspected terrorists. He knew this was blatantly illegal so he hid it.


    Bush says,

    • "We use FISA still. But FISAs is for long-term monitoring. What is needed in order to protect the American people is the ability to move quickly to detect."


    Then later,

    • "There is a difference between detecting, so we can prevent, and monitoring. And it's important to note the distinction between the two."

    The distinction is that "detecting" requires listening to lots of calls with a computer to see if someone says certain keywords like "bomb" in Arabic, or maybe even "impeach Bush" in English. Monitoring is listening to a specific suspected terrorist. The problem with detection is that you have to listen to all calls, including yours and mine. [This NY Times article confirms this interpretation. Also CNN.]

  5. More evidence that Bush wants to listen to all signals is in Bob Woodward's book "Bush at War," on page 303.

    • "Bush summarized his strategy: 'Listen to every phone call and close them down and protect the innocents.'" [WaPost]

  6. James B. Comey, acting Attorney General, refused to sign an authorization for the NSA program because it "did not comply with the law". On March 10th, 2004, Alberto Gonzales and Andrew Card tried to bypass Comey be getting a disoriented John Ashcroft to sign an authorization from his hospital bed. Comey rushed to the hospital to stop them. On March 11th, Bush intervened personally to get the Justice Department to authorize the program. [NYTimes]

  7. Investigators may have found that Bush applied for an expansion of wiretap capability from FISA, was rejected, and then went ahead and did it anyway. [FindLaw] [FAS]

  8. Bush claims going through FISA is too slow but legal emergency wiretaps helped capture terrorist Mosquera.

  9. According to a report in USA Today, the NSA is collecting the phone records of tens of millions of Americans - most of whom aren't suspected of any crime. The agency's goal is "to create a database of every call ever made" within the nation's borders. The stated goal is to be able to identify who is involved in a network of terrorists.


    But this same technique can be used to determine who is involved in a network of political activists who might, for example, oppose the Bush administration. Under Section 222 of the Communications Act, first passed in 1934, telephone companies are prohibited from giving out information regarding their customers' calling habits. All of the major telecommunications companies cooperated with this program except for Qwest.


    Joe Nacchio, CEO of Qwest, was troubled by the fact that there was no FISA approval and that the program was so pervasive.

  10. 8/18/06

    - In response to a lawsuit filed by the ACLU, US District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor ruled that the wiretaps are unconstitutional. [NYTimes] [WashPost]

  11. 8/19/07

    - New York Times says,

    • "Broad new surveillance powers approved by Congress this month could allow the Bush administration to conduct spy operations that go well beyond wiretapping to include — without court approval — certain types of physical searches on American soil and the collection of Americans’ business records..."

Primary Sources

  • 12/17/05 - Transcript of Bush at a Radio Address revealing that he had authorized the program more than 30 times. [White House Transcript]

  • 12/19/05 - Transcript of Bush at a Press Conference discussing the wiretaps [White House Transcript]

  • US Code Title 50, Chapter 36, Subchapter I, Sec 1805 defining the operation of the FISA Court.

  • US Code Title 18, Chapter 121 "Stored Wire and Electronic Communications and Transactional Records Access" controlling access to telephone records.

  • US Code Title 18, Chapter 206 "Pen Registers and Trap and Trace Devices" controlling devices used to monitor communications.

  • US Code Title 47, Chapter 5 "Wire or Radio Communication" - AKA "Communications Act of 1934"

  • 2/2006- "Wartime Executive Power and the National Security Agency’s Surveillance Authority" - Hearings before Senate Judiciary Committee

  • 1/6/06 - Letter from Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Tribe to John Conyers stating that "the presidential program of surveillance at issue here is a violation of the separation of powers — as grave an abuse of executive authority as I can recall ever having studied."

  • Collection of FISA Documents at

  • 12/15/05 - "Bush Secretly Lifted Some Limits on Spying in U.S. After 9/11, Officials Say" By JAMES RISEN and ERIC LICHTBLAU , NY Times

  • 4/7/06 - "Whistle-Blower Outs NSA Spy Room", by Ryan Singel, Wired News

  • Electronic Frontier Foundation lawsuit against AT&T for domestic spying.


  • ACLU v. NSA: The Challenge to Illegal Spying - extensive research and court cases

  • Electronic Frontier Foundation resource center on NSA spying

  • Timeline of NSA Wiretaps by (Excellent)

  • Timeline of Wiretaps by Jodin Morey

  • "NSA warrantless surveillance controversy" on Wikipedia

Other Resources

  • EPIC - details on FISA from Electronic Privacy Information Center

  • "An Update on President Bush's NSA Program: The Historical Context, Specter's Recent Bill, and Feingold's Censure Motion", in FindLaw, 3/24/06, by JOHN W. DEAN

  • "Bipartisan call for wiretapping probe", 12/21/05 [CNN]

  • Oregan court case determines that reasons for FISA approved wiretaps can remain secret. 3/18/03 [CNN]

  • 'What are the "Inherent" Powers of the President? How the Bush Administration Has Mistaken Default Rules for Exclusive Right' By Michael C. Dorf, Feb. 13, 2006 - analyses legality of wiretaps.

  • "Judge Rules Against Wiretaps NSA Program Called Unconstitutional" by Dan Eggen and Dafna Linzer, Washington Post Staff Writers, Friday, August 18, 2006

  • Articles on Surveillance and infiltration of protestors before the Republican Convention

    • NY Times, 8/7/07

    • WashPost, 8/7/07

  • 12/6/07 - John Conyers blog "Setting the Story Straight on FISA" and the RESTORE Act. Has good links.


It is ironic that Bush prevented the FBI and other Investigators from investigating possible terrorist links by the Bin Laden family prior to 9/11.


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