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US Top Court Refuses to Hear Guantanamo Wiretap Case

WASHINGTON — The US Supreme Court on Monday threw out a plea by 23 lawyers for Guantanamo Bay detainees to be informed whether conservations by their clients had been subjected to wiretaps.

A member of the US military mans the guard post before sunrise at Camp Delta. (AFP) The nation's highest court refused to hear the case, without giving a reason, dismissing claims from the detainees lawyers that the possibility that their clients had been subjected to eavesdropping was complicating the cases.

Intelligence services were given the authority to carry out wiretaps without first obtaining court approval after the September 11, 2001 attacks. But the existence of such tapes was only brought to light in 2005.

Pointing to US law on the freedom of information, the lawyers for the detainees held in the US military base in Cuba, asked to be given any relevant documents by the National Security Agency (NSA).

But in the name of national security, the NSA has refused to confirm whether there was any eavesdropping in these cases, or to publish any documents.

The lawyers first brought the case to court in 2007 in New York. The federal court found in favor of the NSA, and the detainees then lost again on appeal.

"The Obama administration has never taken a position -- in this or any of the other related cases -- on whether the Bush administration's NSA surveillance program was legal," said Shayana Kadidal, one of the lawyers from the Center for Constitutional Rights.

"In this case they claimed that even if it was illegal, the government has the right to remain silent when asked whether or not the NSA spied on lawyers. Today the Supreme Court let them get away with it."

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