Federal Judge Orders Halt to NSA Wiretaps

According to a news release this morning from Reuters News Agency:

A federal judge in Detroit on Thursday ordered the Bush administration to halt the National Security Agency’s program of domestic eavesdropping, saying it violated the U.S. Constitution.


Judge Anna Diggs Taylor said the controversial practice of warrantless wiretapping known as the “Terrorist Surveillance Program” violated free speech rights, protections against unreasonable searches and the constitutional check on the power of the presidency.


The ruling marked a setback for the Bush administration, which had asked for the lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union to be thrown out, arguing that any court action on the case would jeopardize secrets in an ongoing war on terrorism.


The ruling resulted from a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of journalists, scholars and lawyers who say the program has made it difficult for them to do their jobs. They believe many of their overseas contacts are likely targets of the program, which involves secretly taping conversations between people in the U.S. and people in other countries.

Taylor minced no words in her 43 page opinion, stating that, “Plaintiffs have prevailed, and the public interest is clear, in this matter. It is the upholding of our Constitution.” The Administration will undoubtedly appeal the ruling, asking for a stay of the injunction.

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