From Terry Frieden
Tuesday, November 19, 2002 Posted: 1:24 AM EST (0624 GMT)
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The United States has broad authority to use wiretaps and other surveillance techniques to hunt for suspected terrorists, a federal appeals court panel ruled Monday.
In a 56-page opinion overturning a May decision by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the three-judge panel said the expanded wiretap guidelines sought by Attorney General John Ashcroft under the new USA Patriot Act law do not violate the Constitution. (More on the USA Patriot Act)
The ruling by the special panel from the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia gives broad surveillance authority to counter-intelligence and counter-terrorism investigators to track individuals considered potential national security threats.
"Our case may well involve the most serious threat our country faces," the panel declared.
The reversal of May's decision by a federal judge represents a victory for the Justice Department and the FBI, which were harshly criticized by the lower court judge for its handling of wiretap applications, and their interpretation of the authority granted the government by the USA Patriot Act.
The ruling represents a setback to the American Civil Liberties Union and National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, which had filed briefs opposing the government's position, but there was no immediate decision whether the case would be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
I, for one, am extremely thankful to algore for inventing the 'net.
Without al's invention, there'd be no FR to factcheck his a**.