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  1. #1
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    Feds appealing warrantless wiretapping court defeat

    The Obama administration is appealing the first and likely only lawsuit resulting in a ruling against the secret National Security Agency warrantless surveillance program adopted in the wake of the 2001 terror attacks.

    A San Francisco federal judge in December awarded $20,400 each to two American lawyers illegally wiretapped by the George W. Bush administration, and granted their counsel $2.5 million for the costs litigating the case for more than four years.

    Although US District Judge Vaughn Walker had called it “unlawful surveillance,” the judge went soft on the government because the authorities, he said, believed they were protecting the country in the aftermath of the worst terrorist attack on US soil.

    Walker did not declare the administration’s so-called Terrorist Surveillance Program unconstitutional, and he declined to issue punitive damages to punish the government for wiretapping in the country without warrants. Instead, the judge granted the two spied-upon lawyers for the now-defunct Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation charity $100 a day for each of the 204 days their telephone calls were wiretapped beginning February 2004, an amount they sought. In addition, they requested about $200,000 each in punitive damages, and the same amount to be awarded to the charity—all of which was denied.

    The government lodged what is known as a notice of appeal (PDF) with the judge’s court late Friday. The government has about three months to file its opening brief with the San Francisco-based 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals.

    “That’s when we’ll know for sure what they are challenging,” Jon Eisenberg, the counsel for the al-Haramain attorneys, said in a telephone interview Tuesday.

    Under Bush’s Terrorist Surveillance Program, which The New York Times disclosed in December 2005, the NSA was eavesdropping on Americans’ telephone calls without warrants if the government believed the person on the other line was overseas and associated with terrorism. Congress, with the vote of President Barack Obama—who was a US senator from Illinois at the time—subsequently authorized such warrantless spying in the summer of 2008.

    As part of that program, the NSA in 2004 was intercepting the telephone communications of Al-Haramain lawyers Wendell Belew and Asim Ghafoor, who worked for an Oregon branch of the charity. The plaintiffs learned of the eavesdropping after the government erroneously sent them records.

    Both the Bush and the Obama administrations declared those records state secrets, so the documents were removed from the case. Walker allowed the case to proceed, based on other evidence of eavesdropping.
    Source: Arstechnica.com

    I get why the government is appealing, they are obligated to do so, but i sincerely hope they loose. This would be a victory for freedom and a strong reminder that we have rights.
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  2. #2
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    I still can't believe we still haven't gotten rid of illegal wiretapping and/or the Patriot act. Our politicians just don't realize there's a reason the founders created the Constitution.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by avrpatsfan View Post
    I still can't believe we still haven't gotten rid of illegal wiretapping and/or the Patriot act. Our politicians just don't realize there's a reason the founders created the Constitution.
    I dont know, i wish i heard the Tea Party Congressman rallying against this. I give them credit, specifically in the ones that voted down the first attempt to extend the Patriot Act extension in the House and the people like Mike Lee and Rand Paul in the Senate but overwhelmingly i havent heard the FreedomWorks and other Tea Party groups rallying against the extension and this kind of stuff.
    Member of the Owlluminati!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by avrpatsfan View Post
    I still can't believe we still haven't gotten rid of illegal wiretapping and/or the Patriot act. Our politicians just don't realize there's a reason the founders created the Constitution.
    Seems like people are still jaded by the "It keeps us safe!!!11!1" excuse...

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbroncos78087 View Post
    Source: Arstechnica.com

    I get why the government is appealing, they are obligated to do so, but i sincerely hope they loose. This would be a victory for freedom and a strong reminder that we have rights.
    As I understand it, they actually are not obligated to appeal this ruling. That said, even for those who oppose this law, their appeal may be for the best. The trial court judge didn't make his ruling in terms of the law being unconstitutional, and thus it's still in effect. There is a (very, very slim) chance that a higher court might find this law unconstitutional on 4th Amendment grounds. I, for one, certainly hope they do.
    "There are many reasons the U.S. shouldn’t go to war with the Islamic State — and the best one may be because that is exactly what they want us to do." -- Dan Froomkin

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