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The Supreme Court on Monday will hear arguments on whether it should halt a legal challenge to a once-secret warrantless surveillance program targeting Americans’ communications, a program that Congress eventually legalized in 2008.
The hearing will mark the first time the Supreme Court has reviewed any case touching on the eavesdropping program that was secretly employed in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks by the George W. Bush administration, and largely codified into law years later.
Before the justices is the FISA Amendments Act, (.pdf) the subject of a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and others. The act authorizes the government to electronically eavesdrop on Americans’ phone calls and e-mails without a probable-cause warrant so long as one of the parties to the communication is believed to be outside the United States. Communications may be intercepted “to acquire foreign intelligence information.”
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