Upset over revelations about secret spying authorized
by the president and the legality of it,
federal judge James Robertson decided to step down

A federal judge has resigned from a special court in protest over President George W. Bush's secret authorization of a countrywide warrantless domestic spying program, the Washington Post reported yesterday.

The action by US District Judge James Robertson stemmed from deep concern that the surveillance program that Bush authorized was legally questionable and may have tainted the work of the court that Robertson resigned from, the newspaper said. The Post quoted two associates of the judge in a story posted on its Web site.
In related news, the American Civil Liberties Union claims that government documents it obtained show that the FBI planned to have terrorism investigators spy on a 2003 animal rights event at Indiana University.

The alleged plan to infiltrate a campus speech by an environmental activist was contained in hundreds of pages of heavily censored documents ACLU lawyers obtained from the FBI under the Freedom of Information Act. An FBI spokeswoman denied the agency took any such action.

One of the documents, which the ACLU posted on its Web site on Tuesday, is from the Indianapolis FBI office and referred to plans to conduct surveillance and collect "general intelligence" during an April 2003 speech by animal-rights advocate Gary Yourofsky at the Indiana Memorial Union.

"It's hard to comprehend how surveillance of animal-rights groups makes us safer from terrorism, but it's easy to see how it threatens our constitutional rights to free speech and privacy," said Fran Quigley, executive director of the Indiana Civil Liberties Union.

Wendy Osborne, a spokeswoman for the FBI's Indianapolis office, said the surveillance did not take place.