The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Obama administration will be back in Judge Vaughn Walker’s court on July 15 when the court takes up the administration’s motion to dismiss a case involving warrantless surveillance of Americans. EFF brought the suit on behalf of Carolyn Jewel, a California database administrator who is an AT&T customer, and other AT&T customers. The suit, however, is not against AT&T, but against the NSA and government officials — in their official and personal capacities who ordered or participated in the program: former President George W. Bush, former Vice President Dick Cheney, Cheney’s former chief of staff David Addington, former Attorney General and White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, and others.
To the disappointment of most privacy advocates and civil libertarians, despite President Obama’s statements during his campaign about his views of the warrantless surveillance program, his administration adopted the Bush administration’s position that the courts cannot judge the legality of the National Security Agency’s (NSA’s) warrantless wiretapping program. In April, the administration filed a motion to dismiss (pdf) Jewel v. NSA [background and documents], arguing that the litigation would require it to disclose “state secrets.”