ACT OF PROTEST:
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
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
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
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.