Rocky Anderson, the former mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah and last year’s Justice Party nominee for president, says he plans to sue the United States government over the illegal collection of private emails ahead of the 2002 Olympics.
Anderson served as mayor of Salt Lake City for eight years and
played a leading role in hosting the 2002 Winter Olympics Games
there. Only last week, though, did he learn that the US National
Security Agency utilized equipment to intercept and monitor all
email and text communications in the area for several months
before the event.
The revelation, published Wednesday in the Wall Street Journal,
“fed into the Bush administration’s program of warrantless
wiretapping,” the paper reported, and “circumvented the
surveillance court on the authority of the president’s power as
commander in chief.”
Now just learning of what happened a decade down the road,
Anderson says he’s looking to sue.
“When we brought the Olympics to this city, nobody agreed that
we would trade off our fundamental civil rights for the
government to come in and spy on us,” Anderson told the Salt
“We have to stand up,” he added to KUTV News. “All of
Salt Lake City should be out in the streets outraged.”
According to the former mayor, he attended a number of
closed-door security meetings ahead of the festivities.
“Security was number one to me,” he told the network.
Never once, however, was he informed that specialized machines
would be collecting the contents of emails sent in and out of his
“If it had, I would have raised utter holy hell,” he told
the Tribune. “For them to have done this to the people in Salt
Lake City in every single instance was a federal felony under the
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.”
The Journal reported last week that the NSA arranged for that
sweep of communications with telecom provider Qwest
Communications and it lasted for no longer than six months. Other
elected officials seem largely split on the issue for now,
though, so Anderson may need to work towards building support
before launching a federal lawsuit.
“The Olympics had been targeted by terrorist in the past and
so I cut them a little slack in that regard,” Governor Gary
Herbert responded during a recent press conference. Former Sen.
Bob Bennett told the Tribune, “If they were not intercepting
text messages then they were not doing their jobs at the center
of world attention.”
Others, like then-Gov. Mike Leavitt, also say they were never
kept in the know.
“How do people feel about our federal government illegally,
with no notice whatsoever, tapping into communications that were
absolutely privileged under the law: reporters and their sources;
physicians and psychiatrists with their patients; lawyers with
their clients. All of that, the government thinks, it can capture
because we are the host city of the Olympics?” Anderson asked
“If I can find the representation, I will sue everybody who
had anything to do with this,” he added to KUTV.
Before becoming mayor of Salt Lake City in January 2000, Anderson
practiced law for more than two decades and was editor-in-chief
of the Voir Dire legal journal. He unsuccessfully ran for
president of the US during last year’s election and garnered a
total of 43,011 votes, or around 0.03 percent of the national
Republished from: RT