DOJ's Catch-22 confidentiality claims get deep sixed in court
By Lee Russ
Friday, July 21, 2006 at 05:33 PM
Rejecting White House claims that the lawsuit, once again, "endangers national security" by exposing state secrets, a federal judge in San Francisco refused to dismiss the lawsuit against AT&T for breaching the privacy of its customers when it aided the NSA in obtaining AT&T customer communications.The victory may be short, however, as Arlen Specter has already offering legislation that would consolidate the many lawsuits around the country based on the NSA domestic eavesdropping program, and transfer the consolidated cases to the Foreign Surveillance Court where the proceedings would be...secret.
Which would be ironic, indeed, since the basis for the motions by the government and AT&T to dismiss the SF case was the argument that (emphasis added):
...the entire subject of the suit was a state secret. They also said the plaintiffs would be unable to prove essential elements of their case -- for example, that they had been harmed by the program, and that AT&T had no legal authorization for participating in the government's efforts -- because all evidence that related to those claims must be kept secret.
Accordingly, the judge found that:
AT&T's assistance in national security surveillance is hardly the kind of 'secret' that ... the state secrets privilege (was) intended to protect or that a potential terrorist would fail to anticipate.
Am I the only one who finds it outrageous that the administration refuses to take the domestic eavesdropping program to the FISA court, but can't wait to take the lawsuits to stop the program to that same court?
Update [2006-7-25 15:17:39 by Lee Russ]:It didn't take long for another Fed Court to dismiss a similar suit, this one filed by the Illinois ACLU on behalf of several priavte citizens, including Stud Terkel, claiming that the NSA's program violated their constitutional rights.