USA Told to Stop Illegally Destroying Records
SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - The federal government must not destroy any more documents and file a brief by noon today on its spying activities, a federal judge ruled, responding to the Electronic Frontier Foundation's request for an emergency hearing.
The EFF had claimed in an emergency application Thursday that the government is still destroying records of NSA spying, in violation of a court order. U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White quickly ordered the government not to destroy any more materials and to file a brief responding to the EFF's charges by noon Pacific Time today.
"In communications with the government this week, EFF was surprised to learn that the government has been continuing to destroy evidence relating to the mass interception of Internet communications it is conducting under section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act even though the court explicitly ordered it to stop in March," EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn said in a statement. "Specifically, the government is destroying content gathered through tapping into the fiber optic cables of AT&T.
"Once again, the government has apparently secretly and unilaterally reinterpreted its obligations about the evidence preservation orders, and has determined that it need not comply. Today marks a year to the day that Edward Snowden leaked documents confirming the NSA's massive spying, yet the government is still engaging in outlandish claims and gamesmanship - even destroying evidence - to block an adversarial court ruling on whether its mass spying is legal or constitutional."
The application came from the plaintiffs in the underlying 2008 case, Jewel et al. v. National Security Agency et al. The plaintiffs in a related case, Shubert v. Obama, also filed a brief on the same issue.