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Judge Orders White House to Produce Wiretap Memos


Judge orders White House to produce wiretap memos
By Joan Lowy | Associated Press

A judge has ordered the Justice Department to produce White House memos that provide the legal basis for the Bush administration's post-Sept. 11 warrantless wiretapping program.

U.S. District Judge Henry Kennedy Jr. signed an order Friday requiring the department to produce the memos by the White House legal counsel's office by Nov. 17. He said he will review the memos in private to determine if any information can be released publicly without violating attorney-client privilege or jeopardizing national security.

Kennedy issued his order in response to lawsuits by civil liberties groups in 2005 after news reports disclosed the wiretapping.

The department had argued that the memos were protected attorney-client communications and contain classified information.

But Kennedy said that the attorney-client argument was "too vague" and that he would have to look at the documents himself to determine if that argument is valid and also to see if there is information that can be released without endangering national security.

Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd said Saturday the department is reviewing the opinion and will "respond appropriately in court."

Shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks, Bush authorized the National Security Agency to spy on calls between people in the U.S. and suspected terrorists abroad without obtaining court warrants. The administration said it needed to act more quickly than the court could and that the president had inherent authority under the Constitution to order warrantless domestic spying.

After the program was challenged in court, Bush last year put it under the supervision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, established in 1978 after the domestic spying scandals of the 1970s.

"We think just as a common sense matter the legal theories for the president's wiretap programs cannot be classified and should be available to the public," said Marc Rotenberg, president of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, one of the groups seeking the memos.

"It's an important decision because up to this point the judge has relied on the government's assertion that it has done everything properly under the law and that it has disclosed everything it needs to disclose," Rotenberg said Saturday.

On the Net:

* Court ruling: http://www.tinyurl.com/5c5g4j
* Electronic Privacy Information Center: http://www.epic.org/
* American Civil Liberties Union: http://www.aclu.com/
* Justice Department: http://www.usdoj.gov/

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is this post-sept 11?

I think they are going to destroy as many electronic documents as they can between months ago and the transfer of administrative power, assuming the fascist regime doesn't try to prevent even that.

The fedral government will have adressed the issue of illegal spying and the need for violating the fourth amendment without telling the american this was occuring before september 11 2001.chris dorsey

who, in turn, pardons Nixon. This stuff is so easy.

EW

what about the ILLEGAL WIRETAPPING AND NSA SPYING before Sept 11, 2001???

it was going on? what is the jackass' justification for that shit, praytell?

he had to do it to get the dirt on the fucking spineless, boy buggering, whore mongering DINOCRATS, that's why!

While I am glad that U.S. District Judge Henry Kennedy Jr. signed an order on Friday for these documents. I would also like to see someone investigate the spying of our American Service men and women.

How can they justify spying on the very people who have sacrificed their lives for us? Someone aught to be brought to justice for such a horrible thing.

The Bush Admininstration should be convicted for war crimes and pay the price for their crimes.

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