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Justice Department Secret Document Details Unconstitutional Surveillance of American Citizens

Published: May 31, 2013
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Source: IB Times

The Justice Department may soon be forced to reveal a classified document that details unconstitutional surveillance of American citizens. The Justice Department has fought to keep the document secret for about a year, but a recent court order demands that they respond to a formal request filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation by next week, June 7, 2013.

This document was first revealed last July by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., to call attention to an expansion of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in 2008 -- which then-Sen. Barack Obama voted for . According to Wyden, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ruled that the government violated the Fourth Amendment. The FISC mostly operates in secret, so the actual court decision remained classified. Wyden was only able to say the FISC decision existed; he was unable to disclose any details about the actual surveillance techniques that were deemed unconstitutional or how many Americans they affected.

The EFF took legal action to learn more about the FISC decision. An initial victory in a district court established in the public record that the Justice Department does possess an 86-page FISC decision on unconstitutional surveillance methods that was published Oct. 3, 2011. The decision found that some techniques were “unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment,” and that the court concluded that “on at least one occasion,” the Justice Department “circumvented the spirit of the law.”

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