Appeals Court Allows 'Classified, But Leaked' Evidence To Be Used In Warrantless Wiretap Case
from the good-news-for-justice dept
The whole situation still seems ridiculous. In business, if a confidential document is made public, and many people have seen it, it's no longer considered confidential. Yet, here, even though many, many people have seen the document outlining the warrantless wiretapping, the gov't still wants to pretend that it's totally secret -- in part, because it doesn't want its warrantless wiretapping program tested in court. This case is very important from a civil liberties perspective, because previous attempts to get a court to weigh in on such warrantless wiretaps failed -- due to the fact that, without specific evidence that one of the parties filing the lawsuit was actually wiretapped without a warrant, they had no standing to sue.
Every time we write about this case, we get angry comments from people claiming that we should shut up and this case should go away because the gov't needs to protect us from terrorists. I have no doubt that the gov't does, in fact, need to do quite a lot of work every single day to help protect us from those who want to kill Americans. But, there is a legal process for that, and it involves getting warrants if you want to wiretap someone. The process of getting a warrant is not hard. In fact, if you need a wiretap in a rush and can't wait for the warrant, you can go ahead with the wiretap and then go back afterwards to get the warrant. This is an important check on the ability of the gov't to spy on its citizens, and it makes sure the process is not abused (as it has been in the past). It's difficult to see how anyone who actually believes in the right to a free society could support a gov't's ability to spy on folks without any check on that power. Hopefully this case does move forward, and the rule of law is upheld where it concerns getting a warrant before wiretapping someone within this country.