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Author Topic: Judge Rejects Suit Against AT&T for NSA Wire Tap Connection  (Read 3144 times)

2Lacoste

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Judge Rejects Customer Suit Over Records From AT&T
               
By ADAM LIPTAK
Published: July 26, 2006

A federal judge in Chicago dismissed a class-action lawsuit yesterday against AT&T that claimed it had illegally given information about its customers to the National Security Agency. The judge, Matthew F. Kennelly, based his ruling on the state secrets privilege, which can bar suits that would disclose information harmful to national security.

The ruling is at first blush at odds with a decision last week by a federal judge in San Francisco. That judge, Vaughn R. Walker, allowed a similar suit against AT&T to proceed notwithstanding the state secrets privilege.

But the two decisions can be reconciled, Judge Kennelly wrote. The Chicago case concerns records of phone calls, including when they were placed, how long they lasted and the phone numbers involved. The San Francisco case, by contrast, mainly concerns an N.S.A. program aimed not at a vast sweep of customers’ records but at the contents of a more limited number of communications.

Because the Bush administration has confirmed the existence of such targeted wiretapping, the San Francisco suit could proceed without running afoul of the state secrets privilege, Judge Walker ruled last week. ‘‘The government has opened the door for judicial inquiry,” he wrote, “by publicly confirming and denying material information about its monitoring of communications content.”

In his decision yesterday, Judge Kennelly said there had been no comparable confirmation by the government or AT&T of “the existence or nonexistence of AT&T’s claimed record turnover.” He refused to rely on news accounts of the program as proof of its existence and noted that “no executive branch official has officially confirmed or denied the existence of any program to obtain large quantities of customer telephone records.”

The case was brought by the journalist Studs Terkel, five other individual plaintiffs and the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois. They argued that the program violated a federal law that forbids the disclosure of some customer records to the government, and they sought a court order to stop it.

Among the papers the government submitted to Judge Kennelly to urge the dismissal of the case on state secrets grounds was a declaration from John D. Negroponte, the director of national intelligence. “Even confirming that a certain intelligence activity or relationship does not exist, either in general or with respect to specific targets or channels,” Mr. Negroponte said, “would cause harm to the national security because alerting our adversaries to channels or individuals that are not under surveillance could likewise help them avoid detection.”

Judge Kennelly noted his “great antipathy” for dismissing the suit. “Nothing in this opinion,” he wrote, “prevents the plaintiffs from using the legislative process, not to mention their right of free speech, to seek further inquiry by the executive and legislative branches into the allegations in their complaint.”

More than 30 lawsuits over government surveillance programs are pending in the nation. Only one, in Detroit, has moved beyond questions of procedure and privilege to consider the legality of the wiretapping program. A decision in that case is expected soon.
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pikey

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Re: Judge Rejects Suit Against AT&T for NSA Wire Tap Connection
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2006, 09:46:20 AM »
What happened to the articles thread?  You think you're special?  ;) :P :D
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mivida2k

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Re: Judge Rejects Suit Against AT&T for NSA Wire Tap Connection
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2006, 09:50:36 AM »
^^yeah I sent him a PM.  He is just spoiled.
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2Lacoste

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Re: Judge Rejects Suit Against AT&T for NSA Wire Tap Connection
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2006, 09:51:07 AM »
Nobody (read: I don't so others probably don't either) reads the articles in that thread.  I'd rather put mine in a separate thread with a title so people know what the article is about before they start reading the long ass thing!   :D
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pikey

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Re: Judge Rejects Suit Against AT&T for NSA Wire Tap Connection
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2006, 09:53:51 AM »
Nobody (read: I don't so others probably don't either) reads the articles in that thread.  I'd rather put mine in a separate thread with a title so people know what the article is about before they start reading the long ass thing!   :D

I read the thread.  So there.  :D
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Re: Judge Rejects Suit Against AT&T for NSA Wire Tap Connection
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2006, 09:56:19 AM »
Nobody (read: I don't so others probably don't either) reads the articles in that thread.  I'd rather put mine in a separate thread with a title so people know what the article is about before they start reading the long ass thing!   :D

This is true, but still...

Btw, if we had a "News Articles" child board, you could create your own thread without cluttering the main board.  Another plus for the child boards.  Just a thought...

2Lacoste

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Re: Judge Rejects Suit Against AT&T for NSA Wire Tap Connection
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2006, 09:58:42 AM »
Nobody (read: I don't so others probably don't either) reads the articles in that thread.  I'd rather put mine in a separate thread with a title so people know what the article is about before they start reading the long ass thing!   :D

This is true, but still...

Btw, if we had a "News Articles" child board, you could create your own thread without cluttering the main board.  Another plus for the child boards.  Just a thought...


Perhaps.  I'm just no fan of these monster threads with no coherent ties other than the format of their content ("articles" and "responses").  It becomes like a giant news dump full of unrelated articles.
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A.

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Re: Judge Rejects Suit Against AT&T for NSA Wire Tap Connection
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2006, 10:08:35 AM »
Exactly...which is why having child boards kills two birds with one stone.  That's what I was trying to convey to you a few weeks ago.  Monster threads are crappy, but so is a cluttered board.

2Lacoste

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Re: Judge Rejects Suit Against AT&T for NSA Wire Tap Connection
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2006, 10:10:41 AM »
Exactly...which is why having child boards kills two birds with one stone.  That's what I was trying to convey to you a few weeks ago.  Monster threads are crappy, but so is a cluttered board.


I still don't think we need a child board for "What are my chances?" threads.  But my position on child boards and your argument in support of it, IIRC, did not envision this mega-articles thread debacle.  I'd perhaps support an articles thread, but I don't want to siphon off all intellectual debate from the BLSD main board.  Otherwise this would devolve to discussions of hip-hop, hair, and meet-ups.
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mivida2k

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Re: Judge Rejects Suit Against AT&T for NSA Wire Tap Connection
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2006, 10:10:59 AM »
Evil Genius Moderator - You are requested to created a child board for News articles.  There should be threads for Politics, Race Relations, General News, Science, Entertainment, Black Attorneys, etc.

Thank you.

Lacoste thinks he's special. :D
The president's approval rating has dropped to 33 percent, matching his low in May. His handling of nearly every issue, from the Iraq war to foreign policy, contributed to the president's decline around the nation, even in the Republican-friendly South.