The Bush administration said Friday that it will ask a federal judge to dismiss a privacy rights group’s lawsuit against AT&T over the company’s reported role in a government surveillance program, because the case might expose state secrets.

In a filing in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, Justice Department lawyers said the government will assert the “military and state secrets privilege … to protect against the unauthorized disclosure in litigation of information that may harm national security.”

The information is so sensitive that the entire subject matter of the case is a state secret, government lawyers said.

The lawsuit says AT&T has allowed the federal agency to sift electronically through all its messages to find targets for interception.

“It appears the NSA is capable of conducting what amounts to vacuum-cleaner surveillance of all the data crossing the Internet, whether that be people’s e-mail, Web surfing or other data,” Mark Klein, a former AT&T technician, said in a statement released by his lawyers.

He said the federal agency installed a device at the company’s San Francisco office in 2003 capable of scanning huge amounts of data to locate specific targets.

Und you vill not qvestion the state!

John’s earlier post on the suit is here.

  1. gquaglia says:

    I hardly think the Bush=Hitler comparison was necessary.

  2. Eideard says:

    Actually, I was thinking more of Lenny Bruce making such comparisons.

  3. Mark says:

    So, was there a crime committed in the implementation or execution of the ‘wiretap”? If so, then the administration is in line for major disappointment.

    The “Military and State Secrets Privilege is absolute, notwithstanding any allegations of criminal conduct”, according to the 1996 ruling Frost v. Perry.

  4. Bill says:

    Gee, I wonder why they put the ‘device’ in SF? and what was the device? I wonder if it runs WIndows XP? ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

    What’s next, mind control? I would start investing in ‘paranoia drug’ companies.

  5. V says:

    “I don’t want you to investigate me! You might found out I did something illegal!”

    Didn’t the White House try to sidestep the entire wiretapping scandal by saying “what are you worried about if you didn’t do anything wrong?”

  6. Mr. Fusion says:

    #4 Paul, If you want to quote someone, is usually helps if they are not quoted out of context. It even helps if the quote isn’t truncated as if that were the entire sentence.

    “We can’t be so fixated on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans ,to legitimately own handguns and rifles.

    What’s happened in America today is, too many people live in areas where there’s no family structure, no community structure, and no work structure. And so there’s a lot of irresponsibility. And so a lot of people say there’s too much personal freedom.”

    “When personal freedom’s being abused, you have to move to limit it. That’s what we did in the announcement I made last weekend on the public housing projects, about how we’re going to have weapons sweeps and more things like that to try to make people feel safer in their communities,”

  7. ECA says:

    AS it should be…
    PEACE officers try to make peace, they dont try to arrest you ALL the time, unless you are being a detrement to SELF or others.
    You can see this in the OLD and NEW ways cops are treating people, OR SHOULD treat people. depends on where you live.
    Government, SHOULD, WORK FOR THE PEOPLE…Not the companies…but the TRICK is…WHO to they HEAR from ALL the time, WHO puts MONEY into their pockets…


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