Judge Nixes Warrant-less Surveillance

By Sarah Karush

Detroit: A federal judge ruled last Thursday that the government’s warrantless wiretapping program is unconstitutional and ordered an immediate halt to it
US District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor in Detroit became the first judge to strike down the National Security Agency’s program, which she says violates the rights to free speech and privacy as well as the separation of powers enshrined in the Constitution.
The government argued that the program is well within the president’s authority, but said proving that would require revealing state secrets.
The ACLU said the state-secrets argument was irrelevant because the Bush administration had already publicly revealed enough information about the program for Taylor to rule on the case.
“By holding that even the president is not above the law, the court has done its duty,” said Ann Beeson, the ACLU’s associate legal director and the lead attorney for the plaintiffs.
The NSA had no immediate comment on the ruling.
Taylor dismissed a separate claim by the ACLU over data-mining of phone records by the NSA. She said not enough had been publicly revealed about that program to support the claim and further litigation could jeopardize state secrets.
Beeson predicted the government would appeal the ruling and request that the order to halt the program be postponed while the case makes its way through the system. She said the ACLU had not yet decided whether it would oppose such a postponement. (Courtesy Associated Press)



-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
2004 pakistanlink.com . All Rights Reserved.