The government claims that it needs this program to fight terrorism. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), representing those who have regular overseas dealings, took its case to District Court last March where it won its argument, but because of the stay requested by the government, surveillance is continued until the appeals process is complete. The government will submit its arguments to the court by October 13. The ACLU has a month to respond with a ruling expected to be rendered by the end of the year. Whichever side loses the appeal will likely appeal further to the Supreme Court.
The ACLU contends that for the government to authorize the unwarranted surveillance of its citizens violates the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution which prohibits the use of general warrants and requires that probable cause be apparent. The National Security Agency (NSA) has had its surveillance program in place for five years in its global fight on terrorism but has not obtained the proper court-ordered warrants required by law in these monitoring activities. Judge Taylor ruled last August that this violates the civil rights of the Americans affected because the government is not presenting its justifications for its surveillance activities in court. Taylor had ruled that the NSA must stop this program but the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals allowed the stay of that ruling as requested by the government.
The Bush administration continues to insist that the ‘Terrorist Surveillance Program’ is a necessary tool which ultimately protects American citizens. This program has been in existence since the September 11 attacks yet the public has only recently learned of it. There are concerns that civil liberties, which are supposed to be protected by the Constitution