The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit Friday by an advocacy group seeking to force the government to reveal whether its clients were wiretapped during the Bush administration.
The Center for Constitutional Rights filed Wilner v. National Security Agency to determine if the attorney-client privilege between Guantanamo Bay inmates and their lawyers was compromised by warrantless wiretapping of their communications.
The Obama administration has no position on the legality of the Terrorist Surveillance Program, which ended three years ago, a government lawyer said, according to Reuters.
Kathryn Sabbeth, an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law, said in a statement: ”No argument could be made that targeting American lawyers on American soil to obtain information about their clients was legal, and indeed when counsel for the government was pressed for an explanation he offered none.”
The CCR went to court after the government failed to release information requested in a 2005 FOIA request. A district court ruled the National Security Agency was within its rights not to reveal the requested information because doing so would “reveal information about the NSA’s capabilities and activities,” a CCR news release said.