Thursday, August 16, 2007

U.S. Defends Surveillance to 3 Skeptical Judges
Lawyers in the two cases that were argued Wednesday say they have such proof. In the AT&T case, the plaintiffs submitted a sworn statement from a former technician for the company who disclosed technical documents about the installation of monitoring equipment at an AT&T Internet switching center in San Francisco.

Mr. Garre, representing the administration, and Michael K. Kellogg, a lawyer for AT&T, said the sworn statement was built on speculation and inferences. Robert D. Fram, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said the statement provided more than enough direct evidence to allow the case to go forward.

Similarly, in the case brought by the charity, al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, the plaintiffs say the government mistakenly provided them a document, since reclaimed, that proves they were subject to surveillance without court approval.

On Wednesday, Thomas M. Bondy, a Justice Department lawyer, told the court that the document “to this day remains totally classified.”

In both cases, the government said the plaintiffs’ evidence was insufficient to establish standing to sue, adding that even litigating the matter would endanger national security. “Whether plaintiffs were subjected to surveillance is a state secret,” the Justice Department said in a recent brief in the Haramain case, “and information tending to confirm or deny that fact is privileged.”

Reading is fundamental, I guess. If you've read Orwell, you have a better understanding of the audacious propaganda that the Bubble Boy administration uses on a regular basis. (See Iraq, Iran, nearly all of its domestic initiatives.) And if you're read this one, you clearly understand the government's position in these warantless wiretapping cases. It's a state secret that you are, or are not, the target of a surveillance program, and even that the surveillance program exists. Even if you have knowledge of being a target or that the program exists, those are still secrets, and you cannot sue. It's a nice tight little circle, which comes down to the government saying, "no, because we said so."

You OK with that?