Daily Archives: July 7, 2007

The top secret wiretapping snafu

What would you do if a Federal Agency whos Mission Statement begins “To enforce the law and defend the interests of the United States according to the law” was blantantly breaking the law invading your privacy? How would you feel if you received a document marked “top secret” that contained a detailed list of some of your private phone calls?

A very disturbing report from Wired.com (Wired Magazine) details how The nation’s highest law enforcement agency accidently gave a copy of a top secret document detailing private phone calls to a Washington D.C. attorney. Two months later the FBI showed up, demanded the documents back and ordered him to forget he ever saw it. Simply freaking amazing.

In August 2004, Washington D.C. attorney Wendell Belew received that document. He and his colleague, a fellow attorney, are suing the government for $1 million each. Recently, an Appeals court dismissed one of over 50 lawsuits against the National Security Administration (NSA) based on narrow procedural grounds, not the legality of the program.

Belew was one of many lawyers representing the U.S. branch of the prominent Saudi Arabian charity Al-Haramain, formerly one of the largest charities in Saudi Arabia. Federal officials were investigating the Ashland Oregon branch of the group for alleged links to terrorism and had already frozen U.S. assets of the charity. The group of lawyers was trying to keep the charity off a U.S. Treasury Department watch list.

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