Sunday, November 2, 2008

Judge Orders Bush Administration To Produce Wiretap Memos

WASHINGTON – A judge has ordered the Justice Department to produce White House memos that provide the legal basis for the Bush administration's post-Sept. 11 warrantless wiretapping program.
U.S. District Judge Henry Kennedy Jr. signed an order Friday requiring the department to produce the memos by the White House legal counsel's office by Nov. 17. He said he will review the memos in private to determine if any information can be released publicly without violating attorney-client privilege or jeopardizing national security.
Kennedy issued his order in response to lawsuits by civil liberties groups in 2005 after news reports disclosed the wiretapping.The department had argued that the memos were protected attorney-client communications and contain classified information.
But Kennedy said that the attorney-client argument was "too vague" and that he would have to look at the documents himself to determine if that argument is valid and also to see if there is information that can be released without endangering national security.
Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd said Saturday the department is reviewing the opinion and will "respond appropriately in court."

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