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State Secrets Defense Rejected In Wiretapping Case 269

Posted by kdawson
from the come-out-into-the-light dept.
knifeyspooney writes in with an Ars Technica report that a federal judge has issued a strong rebuke to government lawyers attempting to invoke the "state secrets" defense to quash a lawsuit over warrantless wiretapping. This is not the high-profile case the EFF is bringing against the NSA; instead the case is being pursued by an Islamic charity that knows it had been wiretapped. "At times, a note of irritation crept into [Judge] Walker's even, judicial language. At one point, he described the government's argument as 'without merit,' and characterized another as 'circular.' He also seemed impatient with the Justice Department's refusal to provide any classified documents addressing Al Haramain's specific claims for review in chambers. 'It appears... that defendants believe they can prevent the court from taking any action under 1806(f) by simply declining to act,' wrote Walker."
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State Secrets Defense Rejected In Wiretapping Case

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  • Re:Well? (Score:2, Informative)

    by oodaloop (1229816) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @05:59PM (#26349641)

    Unless he's willing to put the attorneys in jail for failure to comply (and end up gitmo'd)

    I'm really tired of seeing this crap. Has even one political dissident been sent to GITMO? Last I checked, and I've been to GITMO mind you, only enemy combatants detained overseas and their affiliates are in GITMO. Please stop all this nonsense about being "gitmo'd" for disagreeing with the government already.

  • by yoshi_mon (172895) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @06:20PM (#26349943)

    It would be even more funny if the right wing, who are doing a good job of making McCarthyism look tame, have the social progress evaporate as women are disenfranchised, then kicked out of their jobs, abortion is banned, homosexuals are stoned, writers are jailed, directors shot, dancers raped, just like, well, every other country where Islam has taken over.

    Oh wait...the right wing has been doing that already. Go figure.

  • by 77Punker (673758) <> on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @06:30PM (#26350095)

    every other country where superstition has taken the place of logic and education.

    Fixed that for you! I'd be happy to edit your newsletter if you have a copy available; your website is surprisingly free of updates.

  • by DustyShadow (691635) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @06:45PM (#26350329) Homepage
    federal judges are appointed, not elected
  • Re:Well? (Score:5, Informative)

    by KeithJM (1024071) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @06:54PM (#26350467) Homepage

    only enemy combatants detained overseas and their affiliates are in GITMO [] They did try to send an American citizen, not in the military, arrested in the US, to Gitmo. He was held as an "enemy combatant" for 3.5 years before civil liberties groups got him a trial. I'm not saying I'm sad he is in jail (he was later found guilty), and I'm really not a conspiracy theorist, but it wouldn't be hard to believe there was at least one US citizen that they arrested in the US and sent to Gitmo without anyone noticing.

    As it is, even with the press aware of this guy's situation, he sat in jail for 3.5 years without being charged with a crime. A US citizen, arrested in the US by the US government. That doesn't creep you out at all?

  • Re:Remember folks... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @07:00PM (#26350539) Homepage Journal

    Obama's announcement of Dawn Johnsen to run the Office of Legal Counsel [] (OLC, the office from which John Yoo "legalized" torture) is the best encouragement so far that Obama is reforming the uncurbed powers Bush/Cheney took for the White House. Also Leon Panetta for CIA and Eric Holder for Attorney General. I'd most prefer to see Joe Biden make his #1 job removing all the extra powers from his VP office, but I don't have such high hopes for Biden. Which is why Bush/Cheney's powergrabs were so dangerous: they're as permanent as their successive holders want them to be.

  • Re:Well? (Score:3, Informative)

    by hairyfeet (841228) <> on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @07:07PM (#26350639) Journal

    Not only that but we know now that there are other places overseas that the feds can take you, and they even have a name for it, torture taxi []. And let us be honest here: With all the shit pulled by the US government in the last 30 years you frankly would have to be nuts to take their word at face value on ANYTHING. I personally trust the government about as far as I can throw my overfed corrupt congress critters.

    And as we have seen in the past, anytime they start waving the flag and claiming "national security" it means they have been pulling some seriously lowlife shit that they KNOW that even the most diehard Neocon will have trouble swallowing. Or can you give me a reason why this JUDGE shouldn't be trusted with "national secrets" in PRIVATE so he can render a fair and just decision?

  • by Clandestine_Blaze (1019274) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @07:13PM (#26350691) Journal

    My impression of your post is that it was tongue-in-cheek. I mean, I don't really think that you lay there at night worrying about this.

    Anyway, for a militant form of any religion to spread in the United States, either people have to allow it to happen by adopting the culture, the Government has to recognize and integrate such religion within the institution, or there has to be a militant force that overthrows the government and military. I cannot fathom any of those happening in the United States.

    Some will claim that this is already happening with extreme right-wing, fundamentalist Christianity in this country, but I hope not. I have nothing personal against any religion out there, but I hope that it can remain a personal preference. The Government needs to be run through the will of the people, the strength of unity, justice, logic, and reason -- not ancient texts.

    There are plenty of Muslims here in the U.S., just like Jews, Christians, and others, that are moderate and keep to themselves. I think the majority would be like that. Heck, if you travel to some parts of New York where there are Orthodox Jewish communities, they tend to keep to themselves as well. So do the Amish. Parts of California and Michigan, which has a large Muslim population, doesn't seem to have any problems with any of what you mentioned.

    But seriously, the scenario that you describe couldn't happen without force. What you described actually DID happen to my ancestors in Iran - first when what was left of the Persian Empire was overrun by Muslim forces and Zoroastrians were either killed off or fled to India around the 7th Century. And again in 1979 under the guise of a "popular" revolution. For a few years, the people of Iran were totally free to live how they were before, but slowly the new Government started pulling back civil liberties. Iran's fall from a completely Western-like country didn't happen over night. I don't blame Islam itself for any of this, just those that used it as a weapon to gain power and control over a population.

    This is just my personal feeling, but this is one of the main reasons why I support the Second Amendment in America. In Iran, weapons are banned, and the people have no way to protect themselves from a Government that is out of control: a Government that no longer represents the will of the people. Of course, with freedom to bear arms needs to come personal responsibility, but the freedom needs to be there.

  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @07:28PM (#26350867) Journal

    Yes I see a pattern.

    Denial of Democrats. Ye willfully ignore the wiretapping & nonlegal tactics that Clinton, Carter, and LBJ had performed during their administrations. Also Truman and FDR liked to ignore the law. FDR even went so far as to threaten the U.S. Supreme Court since they kept declaring his laws "unconstitutional".

    Talk about subversion of the People's Supreme Law! "The Constitution and the Supreme Court be damned." - FDR

  • by EdwinFreed (1084059) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @08:03PM (#26351271)
    If Dawn Johnsen, Obama's appointment for head of the Office of Legal Counsel is any indication, our president-elect is very much behind limiting executive power.

    Let's first remember that Bush installed John Yoo in this office, author of the infamous "the President can torture anyone he wants" memo.

    In contrast, Johnsen, a law professor at Indiana, has been an extremely harsh and very outspoken critic of the expansion of executive power under Bush. Writing for Slate, she said:

    I want to second Dahlia's frustration with those who don't see the newly released Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) torture memo as a big deal. Where is the outrage, the public outcry?! The shockingly flawed content of this memo, the deficient processes that led to its issuance, the horrific acts it encouraged, the fact that it was kept secret for years and that the Bush administration continues to withhold other memos like it--all demand our outrage.

    And here is what she had to say about Bush's violation of FISA:

    I'm afraid we are growing immune to just how outrageous and destructive it is, in a democracy, for the President to violate federal statutes in secret. Remember that much of what we know about the Bush administration's violations of statutes (and yes, I realize they claim not to be violating statutes) came first only because of leaks and news coverage. Incredibly, we still don't know the full extent of our government's illegal surveillance or illegal interrogations (and who knows what else)-despite Congress's failed efforts to get to the bottom of it. Congress instead resorted to enacting new legislation on both issues largely in the dark.

    Given this I am fairly optimistic that we'll see at least some reversal of the executive power grab that took place under Bush.

  • by Shakrai (717556) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @10:33PM (#26352629) Journal

    that when the Allies broke the enigma code in WWII they didn't act on all the advance warning they had of German attacks because it would be too obvious that the German commmunications had been intercepted

    You are indeed correct. And even when they acted on the advance warning they had to take precautions. Example: During the campaign in Africa we used our code breaking abilities to locate German supply convoys. Before attacking them the Allies would arrange for a scout plane to "discover" the convoy in question. The Germans took the bait and assumed they were located via aerial reconnaissance.

Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"