Recently it was revealed that the National Security Agency, perhaps the most powerful intelligence gathering organization in the world, acting on the orders of President Bush, has been conducting warrantless surveillance of American citizens and legal residents ("U.S. persons"), which is prohibited under the laws of the United States.

Credible reports suggest that the NSA and its global electronic communications surveillance programs present an extreme threat to the privacy of people not just in the United States but all over the world -- capturing staggering volumes of satellite, microwave, cellular and fiber-optic traffic, including communications to and from North America. This vast quantity of voice and data communications are then processed through sophisticated filtering technologies. And this massive surveillance system (which was once reportedly called "Echelon") operates with little oversight.

This revelation confirms the need for the U.S. Congress and governments around the world to rein in this massive spy operation by requiring greater openness, accountability and oversight.

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