[JURIST] A judge on the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act [JURIST news archive] (FISA) court said in an order [PDF text] released Friday that the court would consider [ACLU press release] what she called an "unprecedented" ACLU motion [PDF text; JURIST report] to release to the public hitherto-classified rulings on the extent of the US government's wiretapping authority. Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly directed the government to file a response to the motion by August 31. The Department of Justice has not yet indicated whether it will oppose the motion.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court [FJC backgrounder] does not hold public hearings and has traditionally confined itself to releasing annual summaries of the number of wiretaps it has approved. Its only public rulings were released in 1981 and 2002, the latter dealing with interpretation of the USA Patriot Act. The New York Times has more.
[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Tajikistan Friday sentenced two former Guantanamo Bay detainees to 17 years in prison each for serving as mercenaries in Afghanistan. Mukit Vokhidov and Rukhiddin Sharopov crossed to Afghanistan in 2001 as members of the al Qaeda-linked Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan [CNS backgrounder]; they were captured by US forces operating in the north of the country in November that year and later sent to the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay.
Vokhidov and Sharopov were released by US authorities and returned to Tajikistan in March 2005. The Tajik court also convicted them of illegal border crossing. The Tajik goverment says that some 20 Tajiks are being held at Guantanamo. AP has more. Interfax has additional coverage.
[JURIST] A spokesman for US Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) reacted coolly [press statement] Friday to a White House bid to extend until after Labor Day the deadline for compliance with committee subpoenas [JURIST report; subpoena packets, PDF] for materials relating to the Bush administration's proffered legal justification for refusing to comply with earlier Congressional calls for documents on the warrantless domestic surveillance program [JURIST news archive]. The spokesman said:
These are materials the Committee has been seeking for two years. The subpoenas have been outstanding for two months. The Committee has already extended the initial deadline. In requesting that last extension, the White House counsel suggested that the Administration would be ready to respond by August 1. The new deadline is three weeks past the time the White House Counsel had estimated was needed. The Committee looks forward to the Administration complying with the subpoenas
The Committee issued formal subpoenas for the surveillance documents on June 27, setting an initial compliance deadline of July 18, later extended to August 20 [letter, PDF]. White House counsel Fred Fielding has said that many of the documents subpoenaed could be subject to executive privilege and contained "extraordinarily sensitive national security information." AP has more.
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