That Pesky 4th Amendment

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Bush Administration, The Constitution

A U.S. District Judge just ruled that the Bush Administration illegally spied on an Islamic charity.

U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker said attorneys for the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, once based in Oregon, could pursue civil remedies for being subjected to warrantless domestic surveillance under an anti-terrorism program put into place by the Bush administration after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S.

But you know what righties will say — we have to burn our freedoms to save them. Or something.

Update: More info in the New York Times

In a 45-page opinion, Judge Vaughn R. Walker ruled that the government had violated a 1978 federal statute requiring court approval for domestic surveillance when it intercepted phone calls of Al Haramain, a now-defunct Islamic charity in Oregon, and of two lawyers who were representing it in 2004. Declaring that the plaintiffs had been “subjected to unlawful surveillance,” the judge said that the government was liable to pay them damages.

The ruling delivered a blow to the Bush administration’s claims that its warrantless surveillance program, which Mr. Bush secretly authorized shortly after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, was lawful. Under the program, the National Security Agency monitored Americans’ e-mail messages and phone calls without court approval, even though the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, required warrants.

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9 Comments

8 Comments

  1. justme277  •  Mar 31, 2010 @7:46 pm

    I think it is long past high time we shine enough light on this illegal warrant-less spy program to shake out what was not only really going on there… but don’t kid yourself into thinking it is the only one..I have this nagging feeling it is but the tip of the iceberg, so maybe we will find out more in the course of this suit.

    I don’t look forward , as an independent, any co operation from the Obama justice dept. and that really pisses me off as a person who voted for him(I know this won’t be a popular comment the truth seldom is about winning a popularity contest). I know the dude(no disrespect, Mr.President) can’t do it all at once… and I can see his plate is way overful with the total mess bush left behind but the pat act renewal and the justice department stand in many cases brought before the courts since bush left have been in support of the bush policy…including this one if I recall correctly…

    I support Obama…still I have no problem saying so….but the justice dept policy in arguing such things before the courts has been parroting the bush party lines and that policy is annoying the bleep out of me.. it’s just wrong! And again I say I know his plate is full…where to even start with a mess like he was left?? But this is disturbing even to me.I hope a revamp of civil liberties policy is on the “to do ” list someplace..I will wait and see..

    OT but I just wanted to comment on faux and their latest flap with sarah….because it is funny….80′s hottie LL Cool J is to be featured on sarahs new show tonight,,, the only thing is he never did an interview with her…it’s all as fake as she and faux are…He called faux out on it and they took his segement off…. Then we find out toby keith(who has been used as a bitch for the right more than a page in the mens room) came forward to say the same thing.. he never did an interview either,,,In LL’s case they stole clips from an interview he gave over a decade ago… If LL had not of spoken up the right would have spent tomorrow hailing sarah and her new career as a serious journalist..LOL….it’s almost to cute not to gloat a bit…

  2. Swami  •  Apr 1, 2010 @12:54 am

    A now-defunct Islamic charity? Aren’t all Islamic charities now defunct because Bush made Islamic charities synonymous with terrorist supporting organizations?

  3. Rick Massimo  •  Apr 1, 2010 @1:27 am

    But you know what righties will say — we have to burn our freedoms to save them. Or something.

    Fortunately for our freedoms and the integrity of the United States justice system, I’m pretty sure Vaughn Walker is already on their list of judges whose opinions you don’t have to listen to. Just roll your eyes, and maybe say “Hah – VAUGHN WALKER” in that bored-teenager voice they all get, and then just keep doing whatever you were doing.

  4. uncledad  •  Apr 1, 2010 @2:48 am

    Hey, here’s one of them rock and rule tunes.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MhIEgSE1KvU&feature=related

  5. Bob K  •  Apr 1, 2010 @5:40 am

    Dubya’s Legacy?

    “Stop throwing the Constitution in my face! It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!”

  6. Dave S  •  Apr 1, 2010 @9:53 am

    We knew it had to happen at some point. Everybody knew it was illegal, including the Bush administration.

    The question now is, will the government appeal? If so, I don’t know how to read SCOTUS… They’re a bit of a wild card these days.

  7. felicity  •  Apr 1, 2010 @1:51 pm

    If I understand it correctly, someone, in the Bush Ad? sent the two lawyers some papers which became the ‘proof’ needed for the judge to make the ruling he did. In other words, without the ‘papers’ there would have been no prosecutable case.

    The Thugs can’t even do clandestine well.

  8. Swami  •  Apr 1, 2010 @3:12 pm

    felicity… There are two other possibilities to consider.. The first is that they sent the documents intentionally in the hopes of exposing Bush’s illegal activities, and the second might be good old psychopathic humor where they taunt their victims with the knowledge that their rights have been violated because they know that Bush will never have to answer for his trampling on the Constitution or violating their civil rights.

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