Tag: NSA Warrantless Surveillance
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in Seattle is hearing two cases today involving the NSA's warrantless wiretapping program.
Two cases involving widespread warrantless wiretapping of U.S. citizens by the National Security Agency will face a major hurdle Wednesday in a federal appeals court in Seattle. A procedural hearing will be held to determine whether actions by the NSA and AT&T, which cooperated with the agency, can be challenged in court.
The first case is Hepting v. AT&T:
The lawsuit claims that AT&T violated the privacy rights of its customers by allowing the NSA to occupy one of the company's switching stations in San Francisco and monitor its customers' e-mails and phone calls without a warrant.
In the second case, Jewel v. NSA, brought by Electronic Frontier Foundation. [More..]
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Two American lawyers and an Islamic charity have submitted their bill for damages following a federal court ruling the Bush Administration subjected them and Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation to illegal wiretapping. The tab as of now (not including attorneys' fees and costs): $612,000.
Judge Vaughn Walker ruled on March 31 (pdf) they were victims of Bush's NSA warrantless electronic surveillance program in violation of FISA, had directed them to submit a statement with their damages. On Friday, they filed this pleading (pdf).
The lawyers and the charity were illegally wiretapped for 204 days. Their bill reflects actual damages at the rate of $100 per day for each day of violation, pursuant to 50 U.S.C. § 1810(a). In addition, there are punitive damages of of $183,600 for each of the three plaintiffs pursuant to 50 U.S.C. § 1810(b). [More...]
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Thomas A. Drake, a high level official with the National Security Agency, had been indicted in Maryland for making false statements and obstruction of justice into the investigation of who leaked details of Bush's warrantless NSA surveillance program to a newspaper in 2006 and 2007.
A federal grand jury in Maryland indicted Drake on five counts of retaining classified information without authorization, including four e-mails and one document copying classified information. He also was charged on one count of obstructing justice and four counts of making false statements to the FBI. The maximum prison terms for those charges range from five to 20 years.
From the DOJ press release: [More...]
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The case involved the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, an Islamic charity, and two of its lawyers, Wendell Belew and Asim Ghafoor, who alleged their conversations were illegally intercepted. The Court granted their motion for summary judgment finding the Government is liable for damages for illegally wiretapping their conversations without a FISA warrant. [More...]
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John Yoo defends himself against malpractice allegations in the Inspector General report on warrantless electronic surveillance in an op-ed today's Wall St. Journal, Why We Endorsed Warrantless Wiretaps. He says the IG report " ignores history and plays politics with the law."
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- The White House asked the CIA to prepare independent “threat assessments” to determine whether the surveillance program was necessary, but then told the CIA to add a paragraph to the end of each threat assessment stating that terrorists possessed the intent and capability to stage terrorist attacks within the United States (p. 7);
- Many officials, agents and analysts believe that “most PSP (Presidential Surveillance Program) leads were determined not to have any connection to terrorism,” and that “the mere possibility of the leads producing useful information” justified the program (p. 32), directly contradicting previous statements that the program was critical;
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The Washington Post reports on the release of the Unclassified Inspector General report on warrantless wiretapping (and other forms of electronic surveillance). [The unclassified report is here.(pdf)]
Today's report, prepared by five inspectors general from government intelligence agencies, was mandated by Congress in legislation last year that updated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to accommodate new technologies. The bulk of the review remains highly classified.
...The inspectors general from the Departments of Justice and Defense, as well as the CIA, the NSA and the office of the Director of National Intelligence, said they reviewed thousands of documents and interviewed more than 200 people in connection with the report, including Bush era officials John Negroponte, who served as director of national intelligence, National Security Agency Director Michael V. Hayden, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
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Sen. Russ Feingold has written this letter (pdf)to President Obama, calling upon him to renounce the warrantless wiretapping. It begins:
I am writing to reiterate my request for you to formally and promptly renounce the assertions of executive authority made by the Bush Administration with regard to warrantless wiretapping. As a United States Senator, you stated clearly and correctly that the warrantless wiretapping program was illegal. Your Attorney General expressed the same view, both as a private citizen and at his confirmation hearing. It is my hope that you will formally confirm this position as president... [More...]
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Michael Isikoff of Newsweek scores a huge exclusive, NSA warrantless wiretap whistleblower Thomas Tamm's story, in his own words.
Exhausted by the uncertainty clouding his life, Tamm now is telling his story publicly for the first time. "I thought this [secret program] was something the other branches of the government—and the public—ought to know about. So they could decide: do they want this massive spying program to be taking place?" Tamm told NEWSWEEK, in one of a series of recent interviews that he granted against the advice of his lawyers. "If somebody were to say, who am I to do that? I would say, 'I had taken an oath to uphold the Constitution.' It's stunning that somebody higher up the chain of command didn't speak up."
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The good news is that Justice Department Inspector General Glenn Fine announced he will conduct an investigation into how the Justice Department used the information it received from Bush's warrantless, NSA electronic surveillance program. He has also mangaged to get security clearances for his investigators. The bad news is it "won't address whether the controversial program is an unconstitutional expansion of presidential power, as its critics and a federal judge in Detroit have charged."
The ACLU reports:
In a letter to the House Judiciary Committee, Glenn Fine, the Justice Department’s Inspector General, said that his office has "decided to open a program review that will examine the Department’s controls and use of information related to the program and the Department’s compliance with legal requirements governing the program."
Again, it's not enough. It won't address the legality of the program. As the ACLU points out:
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