Islamic charity sues to shut down NSA warrantless wiretapping program

[JURIST] An Oregon chapter of the defunct Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation [Wikipedia backgrounder] claimed in a lawsuit filed in federal court Tuesday that the National Security Agency had illegally wiretapping several conversations between the charity and its attorneys. The complaint alleges that the NSA failed to get a court order authorizing electronic surveillance thereby failing to follow procedures required by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act [official materials], and seeks relief in the form of "an order that would require defendants and their agents to halt an illegal and unconstitutional program of electronic surveillance of United States citizens and entities." Read excerpts [text] from an Oregon Public Broadcasting interview with the plaintiff's attorney.

The chapter of the Saudi-based charity was indicted on tax fraud charges [US DOJ press release] in February 2005 after having been labeled a "specially designated global terrorist" [full list] in September 2004 by the US Office of Foreign Assets Control following accusations that it laundering $150,000 in donations to assist al-Qaeda in 2000. AP has more. The NSA surveillance program is currently the direct or indirect target of attorneys in several terrorism-related cases; earlier this month, a federal judge granted a request by defense attorneys that sentencing for Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, convicted in November of last year for joining al Qaeda and conspiring to assassinate President Bush, be delayed [JURIST report] so that prosecutors have time to file a sworn declaration revealing whether or not evidence used against him was gained through warrantless surveillance.



 

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