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FISA court rules against making warrantless wiretapping documents public

[JURIST] The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) [official backgrounder] Tuesday ruled [opinion, PDF; ACLU press release] against publicly releasing documents regarding the National Security Agency's warrantless domestic surveillance program [JURIST news archive], finding that the documents deal with national security secrets. In August, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a motion [PDF text; JURIST report] with FISC, asking the court to "disclose recent legal opinions discussing the scope of the government's authority to engage in secret wiretapping of Americans." The ACLU's request included a recently disclosed FISC decision [JURIST report] restricting the government's monitoring of e-mail and telephone conversations of suspected terrorists in foreign countries. A FISC judge said in August that the court would consider the request [JURIST report]. AP has more.

In August, President George W. Bush signed the Protect America Act 2007 [S 1927 materials; JURIST report], legislation that gives the executive branch expanded surveillance authority for a period of six months while Congress works on long-term legislation to "modernize" the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act [text; JURIST news archive] under which FISC operates.

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