Court Rejects 'State Secrets' Excuse For Why Feds Want Out Of Lawsuit Over NSA Warrantless Wiretapping

Mike Masnick | Techdirt | July 8, 2013

from the bogus-excuses dept

While there have been a number of new revelations lately about the NSA's surveillance efforts, there have been some long-running on-going legal disputes about it as well. One of the biggest is Jewel vs. the NSA. When we last checked in on that case, the appeals court had sent the case back to the district court, rejecting many of the reasons that the district court had initially dumped the lawsuit. The key question for the district court was whether or not the feds could claim "state secrets" to dump the case again... and the court has just ruled and rejected that excuse, claiming that the government has not successfully shown that there are state secrets that mean the case cannot move forward.

Defendants contend that Plaintiffs’ lawsuits should be dismissed as a result of the application of the privilege because the state secrets information is so central to the subject matter of the suit that permitting further proceedings would jeopardize national security. Given the multiple public disclosures of information regarding the surveillance program, the Court does not find that the very subject matter of the suits constitutes a state secret. Just as in Al-Haramain, and based significantly on the same set of facts in the record here, the Court finds that although there are certainly details that the government has not yet disclosed,