Eavesdropping in US ruled legal

Anti-wiretapping lawsuits tossed out of court

On Wednesday, a U.S. federal judge dismissed more than three dozen lawsuits claiming that national telecommunications companies—including AT&T and Verizon Communications—had illegally participated in President George W. Bush’s wiretapping without warrants program, approved after the 9/11 attacks. The decision upheld a measure passed by Congress last summer that gave immunity to phone carriers involved in the wiretapping program. The plaintiffs, led by private civil liberties group Electronic Frontier, argued that Congress had acted unconstitutionally in protecting companies that assisted the National Security Agency in eavesdropping without court warrants. But officials from the Bush and Obama administrations stressed that continued cooperation from the phone companies in surveillance operations is crucial to maintaining national security. Lawyers for the plaintiffs announced their plans to appeal the decision.

The New York Times

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.