Saturday, January 24, 2009

Obama Administration: Wiretapping Legal Challenge Must Die

David Kravets writes on Threat Level:

The Obama administration urged a federal judge on Friday to stay enforcement of a ruling favoring the plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging President George W. Bush's warrantless eavesdropping program.

Justice Department special counsel Anthony Coppolino told U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker during a 60-minute hearing here that the appellate courts should review his Jan. 5 decision allowing classified evidence into the case, a position the Obama administration took in court documents the day before.

Without the classified evidence, Coppolino said, the government wins the case by default, and two American lawyers who claimed they were unlawfully spied upon can't pursue their lawsuit.

"If we are right about this, the case gets dismissed," Coppolino said.

But Judge Walker said he wanted more briefing on the matter. He refused to immediately stay enforcement of his order, which requires the government to allow the plaintiffs' attorneys, and the court, to review a highly-classified document that purportedly shows that the lawyers for a now-defunct Saudi charity had their telephone conversations wiretapped without warrants in 2004.

More here.


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