Lawyers for terror defendants plan to challenge NSA wiretaps


Defense lawyers for terror suspects plan to legally challenge the National Security Agency program of warrantless wiretaps authorized by the Bush Administration, according to a report in Wednesday's New York Times, RAW STORY has learned.

The lawyers said in interviews that they wanted to learn whether the men were monitored by the agency and, if so, whether the government withheld critical information or misled judges and defense lawyers about how and why the men were targeted for investigation.

The expected legal challenges, in cases from Ohio and Virginia to Florida and Oregon, add another dimension to the growing controversy over the agency's domestic surveillance program and could jeopardize some of the Bush administration's most important courtroom victories in terror cases, legal analysts say.

Some Justice Department prosecutors, speaking on condition of anonymity because the NSA program remains classified, said they were concerned that the agency's warrantless wiretaps could create problems for the department in terrorism prosecutions both past and future.

"If I'm a defense attorney," one Justice Department prosecutor said, "the first thing I'm going to say in court is, 'This was an illegal wiretap."'