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New ACLU tries different tactic against wiretapping
[link|http://www.aclu.org/safefree/spying/31356prs20070817.html|ACLU]
In an unprecedented order, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) has required the U.S. government to respond to a request it received last week by the American Civil Liberties Union for orders and legal papers discussing the scope of the government's authority to engage in the secret wiretapping of Americans. According to the FISC's order, the ACLU's request "warrants further briefing," and the government must respond to it by August 31. The court has said that any reply by the ACLU must be filed by September 14.

"Disclosure of these court orders and legal papers is essential to the ongoing debate about government surveillance," said Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU. "We desperately need greater transparency and public scrutiny.We're extremely encouraged by today's development because it means that, at long last, the government will be required to defend its contention that the orders should not be released."

A very interesting move, the ACLU is trying to work around the national security roadblock by addressing the general legal theory. And the FISC has gone along, at least at the first step. That suggests they are at least partially sympathetic to the ACLU.

I think the FISC may agree with the ACLU, that national security has been used to create a catch-22. The ACLU can't sue without a target of the program to provide standing. But because the list of targets is considered a national secret, the government won't provide the list or even indicate if specific people are on the list. This is true even in cases where there is other evidence indicating that a person is or was a target of the wiretapping. The Justice Department has directly and literally argued in court that there is no way to legally challenge this law.

And I suspect that last move may have convinced the FISC to go along with this fishing expedition by the ACLU. That there must be some way to challenge this government on this matter in court, because otherwise the government could use national security as a blanket excuse to avoid any lawsuit.

Jay
New Actually my initial thought was
the FISA court was saying "So, you don't need to listen to us, eh?"
New Mine, too
Nobody in the Judiciary (even if the "judiciary" here is a branch ofhte Executive) likes being told they can be ignored at the convenience of either of the other branches of our so-called Government.
jb4
"It's hard for me, you know, living in this beautiful White House, to give you a firsthand assessment."
George W. Bush, when asked if he believed Iraq was in a state of civil war (Newsweek, 26 Feb 07)
     ACLU tries different tactic against wiretapping - (JayMehaffey) - (2)
         Actually my initial thought was - (Simon_Jester) - (1)
             Mine, too - (jb4)

Hey, it was good enough for Terry Pratchett.
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