A Libertarian-leaning coalition, comprised of many conservative Republican groups, is now joining the chorus of Americans calling for a full Congressional investigation into George W. Bush's warrantless government eavesdropping program, The BRAD BLOG has learned.
In an open letter obtained from The Liberty Coalition, to be released publicly tomorrow, the group --- which features such noted true conservatives as former Congressman Bob Barr (R-GA) and the Republican Liberty Caucus --- is calling on Congress to hold comprehensive hearings into the warrantless NSA domestic wiretapping program. As well, the group calls on the Dept. of Justice to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the matter and stresses the need for Whistleblower protections to allow employees of national security agencies to come forward to testify to Congress about criminal behavior in their respective agencies.
The letter says Bush's program threatens the ability of America to prosecute terrorists due to "tainted evidence obtained in possible violation of federal law." As well, it asks "what limit is there on any future president to secretly re-write our civil and criminal laws at will" if constitutional transgressions, such as those admitted to by the Bush Administration, continue to go unaddressed.
Michael Ostrolenk, the group's co-founder, was most recently seen introducing Vice President Al Gore before a January 16th speech which was highly critical of Bush's program, describing it as in criminal violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). In his address, Gore said, "The President of the United States has been breaking the law repeatedly and persistently." (Highlights of the speech available here.)
FISA requires that the NSA receive a court order for wiretaps of U.S. citizens on American soil. Such warrants may be requested for up to 72 hours after the eavesdropping takes place. Ostrolenk's impromptu introduction was in place of Barr whose live video link to the event failed at the last minute. The Liberty Coalition was a co-sponsor of the event.
Several "non-Conservative" groups, including Democrats.com and the non-partisan VelvetRevolution.us are also members of the coalition which describes itself as a "transpartisan network dedicated to protecting civil liberties and privacy rights". Additional groups from all across the American political spectrum have been joining of late. (DISCLOSURE: The BRAD BLOG is a co-founder of VelvetRevolution.us which is a signatory to the letter.)
The complete Liberty Coalition letter (WORD version here), beginning with a quote from the "Federalist Papers" by James Madison, follows...