Former Salt Lake City mayor sues Bush administration, NSA for spying

The former mayor of Salt Lake City is suing former President George W. Bush, former Vice President Dick Cheney and the National Security Agency for spying on the city during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.

Attorney and former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson filed a class-action lawsuit Tuesday in a US district court, accusing the Bush administration and the NSA of illegal blanket surveillance in the Salt Lake City Area before and during the Olympic games, which were held only months after the 9/11 attacks.

"I’ve reactivated my Bar license, and I decided that if nobody else is going to do it, I have to do it,” Anderson told RT. “We can’t stand by and watch this kind of law-breaking, this massive criminality and incursions on our rights to privacy.”

Anderson heard about the spying from a 2013 report in the Wall Street Journal and has since confirmed it with an unnamed, “high-ranking” NSA source.

In the lawsuit, Andersons says that the NSA and FBI saw the contents of every text message and email sent in the city, and even recorded some telephone conversations without probable cause.

“The government, basically, for the first time ever … put a surveillance cone over Salt Like City, an entire geographic area – never had a warrant, never had particularized suspicion that anything was going on, and they scooped up everything,” he told RT.

The plaintiffs in Anderson’s lawsuit are: Josie Valdez, the former vice-chair of the Utah Democratic Party; state Senator Howard Stephenson (R-Draper); Anderson’s former spokeswoman and former Salt Lake City Councilwoman Deeda Seed; former Dead Goat Saloon owner Daniel Darger; author William Bagley; and University of Utah English professor Thomas Huckin.

“Of course I think we will prevail in this lawsuit, because the rule of law is at the center of our constitutional system in this country,” Anderson. “If we just accept that these powerful people can keep getting away with illegal and unconstitutional acts like this, then we don’t have a constitutional republic any more, and our constitution is nothing but a piece of parchment.”

Anderson served as the Democratic mayor of Utah’s capital from 2000 to 2008. He led a protest against the Iraq War during President Bush's 2007 visit to Salt Lake City. In 2011, Anderson formed the Justice Party and ran for president in 2012 on a third party ticket.