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IPFS News Link • Bill of Rights

Supreme Court: NSA can keep mum if it wiretapped Gitmo lawyers

Supreme Court says NSA doesn't have to say whether it has warrantless wiretapping records The Supreme Court won't make the super-secret National Security Agency divulge whether it has records of the warrantless wiretapping it did of lawyers representing Guantanamo Bay inmates. The court on Monday refused to hear an appeal from detainee lawyer Thomas B. Wilner. Wilner and other detainee lawyers filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the NSA asking whether it has warrantless wiretapping records on them. But the NSA won't say whether it does or does not, saying that revealing this information would endanger national security. Federal courts have agreed with the NSA, saying that the FOIA does not require the divulgence of sensitive national security information. The case is Wilner v. National Security Agency, 09-1192.

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Comment by Ross Wolf
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Now that the Supreme Court won't make the National Security Agency divulge if it warrantless wiretapped Guantanamo Bay inmates' lawyers, inmates no longer can  talk to a lawyer on the phone about their case or their private communications might be used against them in court. Could this happen in the America next?

Where Did Government Put Your NSA-Wiretapped Phone, Fax and Private Email Communications? In 2008 Telecoms were granted government immunity after they helped U.S. Government spy on millions of Americans’ electronic communications. Since, Government has not disclosed what happened to NSA’s millions of collected emails, faxes and phone call information that belong to U.S. Citizens? Could those wiretaps perhaps illegal, become a problem for some Americans? Neither Congress nor the courts—determined what NSA electronic surveillance could be used by police or introduced into court by the government to prosecute U.S. Citizens. 

In 2004, former Attorney General John Ashcroft asked government prosecutors to review thousands of old intelligence files including wiretaps to retrieve information prosecutors could use in “ordinary” criminal prosecutions. That was shortly after a court case lowered a barrier that blocked prosecutors from using illegal-wire tap evidence in Justice Dept. “Intelligence Files” to prosecute ordinary crimes. It would appear this information, may also be used by government to prosecute civil asset forfeitures.


Considering this court case, it appears possible for NSA to share its “recent” illegal electronic-domestic-spying with countless U.S. police agencies; including government contracted—companies and private individuals that have security clearances to arrest Americans and or facilitate seizing Citizens’ property—-to keep part of the bounty. Police too easily can take an innocent person’s hastily written email, fax or phone call out of context to allege a crime or violation was committed to cause an arrest or civil asset forfeiture.

There are over 200 U.S. laws and violations mentioned in the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000 and the Patriot Act that can subject property to civil asset forfeiture. Under federal civil forfeiture laws, a person or business need not be charged with a crime for government to forfeit their property.

In the U.S. private security corporations and their operatives, work so closely with law enforcement—sharing information, to arrest Americans and share in forfeiting their property, they appear to merge with police.