Supreme Court upholds eavesdropping on US citizens

The US Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down a challenge to a federal law that broadened the government’s power to eavesdrop on phone calls and e-mails. Due to decision the Supreme Court will never rule on the constitutionality of that 2008 law.  The coffin is slamming shut on the ability of private citizens and civil liberties groups to challenge government counterterrorism policies, a wide array of antiterrorism measures, including renditions of terrorism suspects to foreign countries and targeted killings using drones, in light of the combination of government secrecy and judicial doctrines limiting access to the courts. Under the system of warrantless surveillance that was put in place by the Bush administration shortly after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, aspects of which remain secret, the National Security Agency was authorized to monitor Americans’ international phone calls and e-mails without a warrant. “More than a decade after 9/11, we still have no judicial ruling on the lawfulness of torture, of extraordinary rendition, of targeted killings or of the warrantless wiretapping program. These programs were all contested in the public sphere” The Obama administration defended the law in court, and a Justice Department spokesman said the government was “obviously pleased with the ruling.”

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