Chicago Sun Times writes -- Bar association to oppose domestic spying
The American Bar Association is preparing to weigh in against President Bush's eavesdropping on telephone calls going into and out of America.
Contrary to polls showing Americans divided on the issue, "our poll shows that average Americans and legal scholars alike agree that the awesome power of the government to penetrate citizens' most private communications must not be held in one set of hands," ABA President Michael Greco said Friday at group's annual midyear meeting in Chicago. "To prevent the very human temptation to abuse the power, there must be checks and balances in the form of oversight by the courts and Congress."
The ABA will debate and vote Monday on a resolution calling on Bush to follow the law that requires him to go before a judge in a closed courtroom to get permission to eavesdrop.
"When the voice of the legal profession in the United States, the American Bar Association, with our 407,000 members has spoken on issues in the past, people have listened, and I'm gratified the administration has listened," Greco said.
Asked if he thought Bush's announcement Thursday that the administration foiled an al-Qaida attack on Los Angeles weakened his argument against unapproved eavesdropping, Greco said, "The attack -- at this point the alleged attack -- on Los Angeles is disturbing, but it doesn't change the fact that neither now nor ever in the future should we be frightened into sacrificing constitutional freedoms because something happened or something is about to happen. I personally reject the false choice that is being offered Americans that they must give up their liberties to have security."
I think that this is an important development. The ABA is not a partisan organization. They are getting ready to call bullshit on the administration's inexcusable power-grab. How exactly do you SwiftBoat the ABA? No, this time, I think that even the Bush apologists in congress will have to listen.
Asked if he thought Gonzales had the "legal acumen and knowledge" to be attorney general, Greco stood silent for a moment, then asked, "You think I should answer that question?"
Finally, he said, "The issue isn't whether the president can eavesdrop on calls from al-Qaida or to al-Qaida. The issue is whether he can wiretap calls without any accountability from Congress."