Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed the State of Michigan after a plan to kidnap her and other Michigan government officials was thwarted by state and federal law enforcement agencies. She started by saying thank you to law enforcement and FBI agents who participated in stopping this [...]
By Dawn Wolfe Gutterman
WASHINGTON – On Feb. 11, the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia ruled that the administration of George W. Bush must respond to Freedom of Information Act requests about possible illegal spying on U.S. citizens.
The suit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Privacy Information Center in a case that closely resembles a suit filed on Feb. 6 by the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.
According to SLDN, the judge said the ACLU and EPIC may suffer “irreparable harm” if the government does not respond to their FOIA requests in a timely manner but has not yet issued a deadline for turning over the information.
SLDN filed suit after the Bush administration refused to respond to its FOIA request for information regarding reported Pentagon surveillance of its activities. As reported by BTL in January, SLDN and other groups opposed to the Pentagon’s anti-gay “don’t ask don’t tell” policy have been the targets of spying by the federal government.
“The federal government has attempted to stonewall the public’s right to know, and SLDN is aggressively challenging its decisions,” said C. Dixon Osburn, SLDN’S executive director. “The Bush administration consistently tells the public that surveillance is conducted only on terrorists and Americans communicating with terrorists; yet information obtained by credible media sources indicates that it is also spying on groups that support civil rights, animal rights and the environment. To suggest those groups are terrorists is an act of modern day McCarthyism.”
“The Department of Defense has already acknowledged the ‘inappropriate’ collection of information about private citizens and there is strong evidence that other government agencies have conducted similar surveillance of numerous private groups and citizens,” said Steve Ralls, SLDN’s director of communications. “The public has a right to know if their government has collected such information about them, and for what purposes that information may have been used.”