This material originally published on United States Courts.
Case Summary: 08-cv-04373
This case involves claims by numerous citizens that their constitutional rights were violated by the United States government through unauthorized surveillance of their telephone and internet activity by the National Security Agency (NSA) and other government actors under the “Terrorist Surveillance Program” or TSP. They allege that this was done in concert with major telecommunications companies and outside of the procedures of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and without authorization by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC).
According to Plaintiffs, Defendants have a nationwide network of sophisticated communications surveillance devices attached to the key facilities of telecommunications companies that carry Americans’ internet and telephone communications. Using this network, Defendants continue to acquire the content of a significant portion of phone calls, emails, instant messages, text messages, web communications and other communications, both international and domestic, of practically every American who uses the phone system or the internet. Plaintiffs also allege that Defendants have unlawfully solicited and obtained from telecommunications companies the private telephone and internet transactional records of those companies’ customers, indicating who the customers communicated with, when and for how long, among other sensitive information.
Defendants are claiming that the information necessary to litigate plaintiff’s claims is subject to and excluded from use by the “states secrets privilege” and other related privileges and that their cases should be dismissed. Plaintiffs counter that Congress displaced the “states secret privilege” in electronic surveillance actions when it enacted FISA. Plaintiffs filed a motion for partial summary judgment to have the trial court rule on that issue. This video is of the hearing on that motion.