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Defense lawyers to investigate illegal wiretaps in terror cases

[JURIST] Defense lawyers working on several high-profile terrorism cases plan to bring legal challenges to discover whether the National Security Agency (NSA) [official website] used illegal wiretaps [JURIST news archive] against several dozen Muslims linked to Al Qaeda and whether the government misled judges and defense lawyers about the selection and monitoring of suspects. Lawyers for Jose Padilla [JURIST news archive] say they plan to file a motion in a Florida court as early as next week to determine whether the NSA used wiretaps to gain incriminating information about their client. Other high profile cases being reviewed by attorneys include the Portland Seven [Oregonian coverage] and Lackawanna Six [Wikipedia profile] suspects. White House spokesman Trent Duffy defended [White House transcript] the legality of the NSA program Tuesday, saying "The president believes that he has the authority - and he does - under the Constitution to do this limited program. The Congress has been briefed. It is fully in line with the Constitution and also protecting American civil liberties." Last week, a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) [constituitive statute] judge resigned in protest [JURIST report] over the NSA domestic surveillance program, and the Bush administration has agreed to brief [JURIST report] the remaining judges on the scope of the program. The New York Times has more.

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