ACLU blasts Justice Dept. leaks probe

NEW YORK, Dec. 30 (UPI) -- The American Civil Liberties Union Friday criticized a new Justice Department leak probe.

The Justice Department announced earlier Friday that it was launching an investigation into the disclosure of a secret National Security Agency domestic eavesdropping operation approved by President George W. Bush without specific legal or congressional authorization.


In a letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, the ACLU has called for the appointment of a special counsel to determine whether Bush violated federal wiretapping laws by authorizing illegal surveillance of domestic targets.

ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero said, "President Bush broke the law and lied to the American people when he unilaterally authorized secret wiretaps of U.S. citizens. But rather than focus on this constitutional crisis, Attorney General Gonzales is cracking down on critics of his friend and boss. Our nation is strengthened, not weakened, by those whistle-blowers who are courageous enough to speak out on violations of the law.

"To avoid further charges of cronyism, Attorney General Gonzales should call off the investigation," Romero said. "Better yet, Mr. Gonzales ought to fulfill his own oath of office and appoint a special counsel to determine whether federal laws were violated."


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