Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Feds Say 'Dragnet' Surveillance Lawsuit Threatens Security

David Kravets writes on Threat Level:

Citing the state secrets privilege and other legal claims, the Obama administration urged a federal judge here Wednesday to dismiss a lawsuit claiming Americans’ electronic communications are being siphoned to the National Security Agency without warrants.

During a two-hour hearing, a top-ranking Justice Department litigator declined to confirm or deny the existence of what the Electronic Frontier Foundation described in its lawsuit as ongoing “dragnet” surveillance, which the EFF hopes the lawsuit will stop.

“President Obama inherited a number of surveillance activities,” Anthony Coppolino, special litigation counsel for the administration, told U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker. “There remain rare occasions where the privilege has to be invoked to prevent harm to national security.”

Coppolino added that the government is immune from lawsuits regarding the conduct at issue. Surveillance, he said, “is the crown jewel of the National Security Agency.”

More here.


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