Court Restricts Wiretapping Suits newsvine furl google yahoo netscape

In a split decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has ruled that you cannot sue the government over illegal wiretapping unless you can prove that you were personally effected by it. That appears to leave out everyone but Wendell Belew, a D.C. attorney who was accidentally handed a copy of his surveillance record in 2004.

The ruling came in an appeal of a decision by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan from 2006, which ruled that the NSA's wiretapping program is illegal.

"As a result of today's decision, the Bush administration has been left free to violate the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which Congress adopted almost 30 years ago to prevent the executive branch from engaging in precisely this kind of unchecked surveillance," ACLU legal director Steven Shapiro said in a statement.

Meanwhile, an attorney in D.C. named Wendell Belew is suing the government over the same program. Fortunately for Belew, he can prove that he has been the subject of wiretapping thanks to an apparent slip-up wherein he was handed proof that he was wiretapped by the NSA.

Apparently, the document he was handed was even stamped 'Top Secret'. The document contained a log of protected client-attorney conversations.

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