U.S. seeks to dismiss AT&T secrets suit

The U.S. government has asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit by a San Francisco civil liberties group against AT&T because it says the case could reveal military and state secrets.
The class-action suit by the group, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, on behalf of AT&T customers accuses the company of unlawful collaboration with the National Security Agency in its surveillance program to intercept telephone and e-mail communications between the United States and people linked to al Qaeda and affiliated organizations.
President George W. Bush authorized the intercepts following the September 11 attacks without court approval.
In a “Statement of Interest” filed on Friday, the government asked U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker to throw out the suit, saying the government “cannot disclose any information that may be at issue in this case.”
“The government intends to assert the military and state secrets privilege (that) permits the government to protect against the unauthorized disclosure in litigation of information that may harm national security interests,” it said.
“In addition to asserting the state secrets privilege, the U.S. also intends to file a motion to intervene for the purpose of seeking dismissal of this case,” the filing said.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation said in a statement issued late on Friday that “evidence regarding AT&T’s dragnet surveillance of its networks, currently filed under seal, includes a declaration by Mark Klein, a retired AT&T telecommunications technician, and several internal AT&T documents.”
U.S. seeks to dismiss AT&T secrets suit – Reuters.com

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