Monday, January 05, 2009

U.S. Judge Revives Lawsuit Over Bush Wiretap Program

Henry K. Lee writes in The San Francisco Chronicle:

A defunct Islamic charity in Oregon that says it was illegally wiretapped by federal authorities can pursue its lawsuit challenging President Bush's clandestine eavesdropping program, a federal judge in San Francisco ruled Monday.

In reviving a suit filed by Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker said the group had enough publicly available evidence to show that it could reasonably believe it had been wiretapped.

The ruling is "a big win for us," said Jon Eisenberg, an Oakland attorney for the plaintiffs.

Walker had dismissed the suit in July, saying the group could not use a classified document that the government had accidentally turned over to the foundation.

But later that month, the group produced non-secret information - an October 2007 speech in which a deputy FBI director said that the agency "used ... surveillance" in an investigation into whether the organization was linked to terrorism. The speech was given at a conference of the American Bankers Association and American Bar Association on money laundering.

More here.


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