…the Supreme Court said it would not take up a warrantless surveillance case, Wilner v. National Security Agency (NSA), filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR). The lawsuit argued that the Executive Branch must disclose whether or not it has records related to the wiretapping of privileged attorney-client conversations without a warrant. Lawyers for the Guantánamo detainees fit the officially acknowledged profile of those subject to surveillance under the former administration’s program, and the Bush administration argued in the past that the Executive Branch has a right to target them.
“The Obama administration has never taken a position-in this or any of the other related cases-on whether the Bush administration’s NSA surveillance program was legal. In this case they claimed that even if it was illegal, the government has the right to remain silent when asked whether or not the NSA spied on lawyers,” said Shayana Kadidal, Senior Managing Attorney of the CCR Guantánamo Global Justice Initiative. “Today the Supreme Court let them get away with it.” […]
The plaintiffs [had] filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking records of any surveillance of their communications under the NSA’s warrantless surveillance program, which began after 9/11 but was only disclosed to the public in December 2005. The government refused to either confirm or deny whether such records existed, and the lower courts refused to order the government to confirm whether it had eavesdropped on attorney-client communications. The question before the Supreme Court was whether the government can refuse to confirm or deny whether records of such surveillance exist, even though any such surveillance would necessarily be unconstitutional and illegal.
Real News Network’s Paul Jay talks with Shayana Kadidal** – Senior Managing Attorney of the Guantánamo Global Justice Initiative (GGJI) at the Center for Constitutional Rights about the CRR’s initiative and about this case and the Administration’s eavesdropping.
Real News Network – October 08, 2010
Shayana Kadidal: Government refuses to disclose possible wiretapping of civil rights lawyers