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SAN FRANCISCO – The latest legal volley attacking President George W. Bush’s once-secret electronic eavesdropping dragnet gets its first court hearing here Wednesday, nearly four years after the warrantless surveillance program was revealed.
The Jewel v. NSA lawsuit was filed in September by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. It responded to 2008 federal legislation that immunized the nation’s telecommunications companies from suits challenging their complicity in the President’s Surveillance
U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker will hear arguments from both sides on the Obama administration’s motion for the case to be thrown out.
In court filings, the administration says the suit “would require or risk the disclosure of information that is properly subject to the state secrets privilege and related statutory privileges.” The administration claims it’s shielded by sovereign immunity, in addition to citing the controversial state secrets privilege.
All the while, the EFF maintains the dragnet surveillance continues unabated under Obama.
“Using this shadow network of surveillance devices, defendants have acquired and continue to acquire the content of a significant portion of the phone calls, e-mails, instant messages, text messages, web communications and other communications, both international and domestic, of practically every American who uses the phone system or the internet,” the EFF wrote in its lawsuit.
The civil liberties group told Judge Walker the spying is as an “unprecedented, suspicion-less general search through the nation’s communications.”
what does the DHS say about sovereignty again?