(03-31) 13:42 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- The Bush administration wiretapped a U.S.-based Islamic charity under an illegal surveillance program that was not authorized by Congress or the courts, a federal judge in San Francisco ruled today.
The ruling by Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker marked the first time that a court has found that the government illegally wiretapped an individual or organization since President George W. Bush authorized warrantless wiretapping of suspected foreign terrorists in 2001.
The government inadvertently sent a classified document in 2004 to the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, reportedly showing that two of its lawyers had been wiretapped. Several months after the surveillance began, the government classified Al-Haramain as a terrorist organization, a description its leaders called false.
This is a victory for the rule of law, but let's not celebrate yet, but hold Obama's feet to the fire too, and make damn sure this does not happen again. Without a court order, wiretapping is illegal. Period.
Article is here.