Policy and News Updates for August 25, 2006

Policy Updates

[new] NSA Eavesdropping program illegal, judge rules
Judge Anna Diggs Taylor, U.S. Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, ruled on August 18 that the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance program violates the First and Fourth Amendments and the separation of powers. Judge Taylor rejected the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) claims of state secrets privilege in respect to the Terrorist Surveillance Program. The state secrets privilege allows the government to withhold documents on the grounds of national security, often leading to the dismissal of court cases.
Status: The case was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of several journalists and academics who claimed their rights had been violated.
The decision was appealed by the Department of Justice. The appeal will soon be heard by the Sixth Circuit.
Federal Court Finds NSA Eavesdropping Program Unconstitutional
[OMB Watcher]; Judge Rules Against Wiretaps [Washington Post]

News from Coalition Partners and Others

National Security Archive reveals on Cold War missile secrecy
The Pentagon and the Energy Department have blacked out previously public numbers of U.S. nuclear missiles during the Cold War. Find out more from the National Security Archive, which published government documents on its website.

Reporters Committee releases Open Government Guide
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP) has released the fifth edition of their Open Government Guide, their guide to state open records and meetings laws (formerly titled “Tapping Officials’ Secrets”). Each state’s section is arranged according to a standard outline, making it easy to compare laws in various states.