US Top Court Refuses to Hear Guantanamo Wiretap Case

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Agence France Presse

US Top Court Refuses to Hear Guantanamo Wiretap Case

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A member of the US military mans the guard post before sunrise at Camp Delta. (AFP)

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.

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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