Court: Feds Can Spy On Americans Without Warrants With No Legal RepurcussionsSubmitted by dwalters on Thu, 08/09/2012 - 18:19
From techdirt.com -
We've followed the Al-Haramain case against the US government for a while through all of its ridiculousness. This was the challenge to the government over warrantless wiretapping, which went through crazy twists and turns, because information on the wiretapping was deemed classified -- even though it was published by reporters. The only reason the case exists in the first place is that the government accidentally leaked a document that proved that such wiretapping happened. Earlier cases to challenge the warrantless wiretapping in general failed on the grounds that the people suing had no standing since they couldn't prove that they'd been spied upon without a warrant (and if this sounds like something Joseph Heller would write about, you've got the right idea).
Eventually, the court actually ruled that the feds violated wiretapping laws, but then there were questions of what the court could actually do about it. It turned into a wrist slap for the government, with it being ordered to pay $20,400 to each of the two lawyers who represented Al-Haramain.
However, earlier this week, that got overturned. The appeals court has basically said that even though Congress passed a law that said the feds could not eavesdrop on Americans without a warrant, it didn't waive sovereign immunity rights for the government, which lets the government basically wave away any lawsuits. And thus, the government can ignore wiretapping lawsuits -- even in the one and only case where there's clear evidence of it violating the law. Yeah.
Continue reading - http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120809/11041019980/court-...