RealNews

Supreme Court Refuses to Review Wiretaps Ruling

In a case balancing national security with civil liberties, the Supreme Court refused to interfere today with a lower court ruling giving the Justice Department broad new powers to use wiretaps to prosecute terrorists. The justices declined without comment to review a decision last Nov. 18 in which a special federal appeals court found that, under a law passed after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Justice Department can use wiretaps installed for intelligence operations to go after terrorists. That November decision was crucial, because for some two decades there was presumed to be a “wall” between wiretap operations for intelligence-gathering and wiretapping in the course of criminal investigations. Obtaining permission for a wiretap to gather intelligence has generally been easier than getting authorization for a wiretap in a straightforward criminal investigation. Thus, prosecutors were admonished not to try to skirt the tougher standards for a wiretap in a criminal investigation by claiming it was actually to gather intelligence. Full Story

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