Letter to Congress on NSA Wiretapping at U.N.
1039 Longworth House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Saturday, February 28th 2004
As of today, the growing list of U.N. officials reportedly bugged by the U.S. National Security Agency and its British allies includes the Secretary General, the delegations of several Non-Permanent Members of the Security Council and two Chief Weapons Inspectors.
These revelations were triggered by the case of Katharine Gun, the British whistle-blower who leaked a secret memo (see copy enclosed) in February 2003. In this memo, Frank Koza of the NSA asked for assistance from his British counterparts to spy on the U.N. delegations of Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Bulgaria, Guinea and Pakistan. There is little surprise in revelations of NSA spying at the U.N. but the disposition of the case against Ms. Gun has exposed more significant issues regarding the rule of international law.
British prosecutors dropped their case against Ms. Gun this week only after her lawyer told the court that he would call Britain’s Attorney General and Foreign Office legal advisors to testify regarding the illegality of the war in Iraq. One of those advisors, Elizabeth Wilmshurst, who resigned last year, has now revealed that this was in fact over the illegality of the war.
As I pointed out in my letters of January 1st and February 13th 2004, the United States Government is committed under Article VI of the United States Constitution to abide by international treaties it has signed and ratified, which the Constitution declares to be “the supreme Law of the Land”. It is now clear that President Bush and Mr. Blair were advised that a war against Iraq would violate the Kellogg-Briand Pact and the United Nations Charter, and that they chose to ignore this advice, and yet neither Republicans nor Democrats in Congress have challenged the legality or constitutionality of their actions. Thus, in an election year, we find ourselves faced with a choice between two major political parties that are equally unwilling to defend the rule of international law and the relevant clauses of our Constitution. Is it really too much to hope that the Democratic Party can make a renewed commitment to Article VI of the United States Constitution between now and the General Election?