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President Bush receives anti-free speech award

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

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George W. Bush, president of the United States of America was awarded the first place Jefferson Muzzle, anti-free speech award for 2006, by the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression. The NSA warrantless wiretapping that was authorized by a secret executive order by him was cited as the primary reason for this distinction.

According to their website: "...the Jefferson Muzzles are awarded as a means to draw national attention to abridgments of free speech and press and, at the same time, foster an appreciation for those tenets of the First Amendment."

The commonly accepted legal use of electric surveillance of U.S. citizens is when the government gets a warrant from the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The court was established by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978. However, the Bush Administration maintains that they are allowed to conduct warrantless eavesdropping under the Authorization for Use of Military Force of 2001.

"Our position is that the authorization to use force, which was passed by the Congress in the days following September 11th, constitutes that other authorization, that other statute by Congress, to engage in this kind of signals intelligence," Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said on December 19, 2005.

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