Secret Court Permits Secret Spying on US Residents

A court which holds private hearings with only one side of the argument petitioning has ruled in a classified decision that the justice department can secretly tap your phone or monitor the activities in your home without a criminal warrant and without judicial review.

Attorney General John Ashcroft hailed the decision as a revolution in the way domestic surveillance operations are conducted and promised to waste no time in hooking up your house with all sorts of high-tech audio-video equipment.

More reaction in a report by the AP's Gina Holland:

Viet Dinh, a special assistant attorney general, said last week that the government would not be heavy-handed. "We have absolutely no interest in gathering information simply for the sake of gathering information," he said. But Michael Greenberger, who worked on counterterrorism projects in the Clinton administration's Justice Department, said, "The minute you start hearing prosecutors say `I'm not going to abuse the right,' citizens' ears ought to perk up." Greenbeger, who now teaches law at the University of Maryland, said he was concerned that Americans will be monitored with little evidence they are tied to terrorists. "The first response would be `That couldn't happen in America.' Under this court's decision, it could happen."

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