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Federal judge dismisses NYT lawsuit for classified domestic spying documents

[JURIST] A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit [JURIST report] brought by the New York Times against the US Defense and Justice Departments, ruling that the departments were not required to disclose classified records on the government's warrantless wiretapping program [JURIST report] sought by the newspaper under the Freedom of Information Act [text]. US District Judge Richard M. Berman ruled last Thursday that the classified material sought fell under the attorney-client and presidential communications privileges, both exemptions under FOIA. The New York Times is also seeking material that is not classified, and Berman has yet to make a decision on whether the DOJ and DOD have properly withheld those records.

The Times filed the lawsuit last year after the departments failed to release requested documents regarding the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance program. The newspaper broke the story in late 2005, reporting that the government has secretly eavesdropped on domestic phone conversations without court approval [JURIST report], and submitted a FOIA request for internal e-mails, memos and names of those spied upon through the program. AP has more.

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