October 4, 2006 | By Cindy Cohn

Another Court Says "National Security" Isn't Blank Check for Illegal Spying

Today, a federal court shot down yet another attempt by the government to use "national security" as a blank check for illegal surveillance. Refusing a claim that the government could not even confirm or deny whether it had listened in on calls between attorneys at the Center for Constitutional Rights and their clients, the court ordered the government to provide that information to the court in secret first, then set up a process to possibly provide that information to the attorneys involved. The court confirmed: "It is a cardinal rule of litigation that one side may not eavesdrop on the other's privileged attorney-client communications."

That should have been obvious to the government from the beginning. But the fact that the government refused to confirm that it wasn't violating this "cardinal rule" protecting attorney-client communications should raise concerns for all of us. Kudos to yet another court for holding the government to the basic rule of law. The New York Law Journal has more details.

The government's overreaching attempts to prevent courts from considering cases where it asserts "national security" are now starting to fail, including, of course, in EFF's case against AT&T for helping the government's massive and illegal NSA spying program. Learn more here.

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