Tinsel Wing

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Bush is listening. Use big words.

[On edit: The title phrase did not originate with me. If you're looking for bumper stickers and other paraphernalia, try this site. But y'all come back, hear?]

You may have heard about the suit Electronic Frontier Foundation brought against AT&T, claiming that they're running all their Internet traffic in selected cities through the NSA.
The class-action suit, which seeks an end to the collaboration it alleges, is based in part on the testimony of Mark Klein, a retired technician for the company who says Internet data passing through an AT&T switching center in San Francisco is being diverted to a secret room. There, Mr. Klein says, the security agency has installed powerful computers to eavesdrop without warrants on the digital data and forward the information to an undisclosed place.

Now the Feds are trying to quash the suit (U.S. Steps Into Wiretap Suit Against AT&T), by invoking the State Secrets Privilege. They're saying EFF mustn't be allowed to introduce its evidence that the NSA is in gross violation of the law, because then the gummint would have to deny it, and saying out loud whether or not the NSA stands in massive breach of the fourth amendment would be giving Osama TMI.

Glenn Greenwald provides his usual astute analysis of the State Secrets Privilege, its history and its abuse potential, in "Building the Secrecy Wall Higher and Higher". (Fair warning: it's long.)

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