EFF sues Cheney, Bush, and the NSA to stop illegal wiretapping

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has filed suit against the NSA, President Bush and Vice President Cheney on behalf of AT&T's customers to fight illegal wiretapping:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a lawsuit against the National Security Agency (NSA) and other government agencies today on behalf of AT&T customers to stop the illegal, unconstitutional, and ongoing dragnet surveillance of their communications and communications records. The five individual plaintiffs are also suing President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Cheney's chief of staff David Addington, former Attorney General and White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales and other individuals who ordered or participated in the warrantless domestic surveillance.

The lawsuit, Jewel v. NSA, is aimed at ending the NSA's dragnet surveillance of millions of ordinary Americans and holding accountable the government officials who illegally authorized it. Evidence in the case includes undisputed documents provided by former AT&T telecommunications technician Mark Klein showing AT&T has routed copies of Internet traffic to a secret room in San Francisco controlled by the NSA.

YEEEEEE-HAW! Ride 'em cowboys! I could not be prouder of EFF at this moment -- I'm bursting with joy. I made a five-figure donation to EFF this year, and they've just earned every penny. If you want to see them take this administration to the mat, kick in a buck or two yourself.

EFF Sues NSA, President Bush, and Vice President Cheney to Stop Illegal Surveillance


  1. Canadian, and I’ve only donated 50 bucks to the EFF this year, but damn, I’m happy about how my money is being spent.

  2. Well. . . if the EFF wasn’t getting their phones tapped already, you can bet they’re all tapped now.

    I suggest the EFF shouldn’t discuss any of its strategy regarding this case over the phone, or email, or even spoken in hushed tones in pig-latin on a busy street.

  3. Doesn’t surprise me the NSA is tapping telecommunications; that’s reportedly become one of their specialties. But they shouldn’t be doing so on more than a test-the-technology basis — at least not on domestic calls — without a warrant.

    And, yeah, the whole thing is very much security theater. The lesson Bush learned from the terrorist attack was how to wield and maintain terror in his subjects\\\\\\\citizens.

  4. I have not donated money to any cause or organization since the old days of the dial-in BBS, but have just made a $25 donation to EFF to support this action. I guess since everything is being tapped and back-room policy is being made that my name may soon be on a no-fly list, but that is what I have come to expect from our government.

  5. isn’t this just a stupid waste of time since they just passed legislation indemnifying the tele companies? (which obama endorsed, btw)

  6. @#6: Maybe EFF should discuss strategy in WoW and make it look like they’re discussing a raid. *eg*

    A 5-figure donation? Man, I’m barely into 5-figure annual salary. Way to make some of us feel like krahp, Cory. =/

  7. isn’t this just a stupid waste of time since they just passed legislation indemnifying the tele companies? (which obama endorsed, btw)

    That’s why God invented the Supreme Court.

  8. MatthewIJenkins @11, no, it’s not a “stupid waste of time”.

    For one thing, the EFF is suing the NSA directly in this case (Jewel v NSA), so telecom immunity doesn’t apply.

    For another, the case EFF has against AT&T (Hepting v AT&T) hasn’t been resolved. The EFF is arguing in federal court that the telecom immunity is unconstitutional.

  9. too bad though that they just earned themselves slots on the no-fly list

    I suspect they ‘earned’ those a while ago.

    Cory, thank you AGAIN for putting your money where your mouth is, AGAIN.

  10. Um, yea, I agree on that LOGO kicking major ass.

    Also, if they use that “security” bullcrap then all we need to tell them is one of the founding members of this nation said:

    “He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither.”

    That should actually be part of the constitution.

  11. Bravo EFF!

    Along with this we need a change to the status quo, that recognizes this as a patriotic action and Bush regime’s activities as anti-american, anti-constitutional

  12. @Sparrowhawk #1, the more often that we cause government officials and agencies to attempt to hide behind the veil of “National Security” the more likely judges will become more interested in piercing it.

  13. The problem with suing the US government is that you need the US government’s permission to sue them. They don’t even need a national security excuse. They can just say no.

  14. Blatant spam: you, too, could be posting here about how proud you are to be an EFF member or supporter at times like this, just like me!

    To those wondering whether there’s any point, as (they think) the attempt is doomed to fail: there is value in the exercise even if it fails, as everyone will then be very clear about what sort of nation-state they’re living in.

    (full disclosure: I’m not a US citizen.)

  15. The Fed just bought a 80% stake in AIG worth US $85 Billion, EFF doesn’t stand a chance unless they get a Clinton appointed judge.

  16. Yeah, about the logo…

    I NEED one of those shirts. If anyone has found a way already to get them made please post a link.

  17. I’m Canadian, but seriously, it’s about time somebody actually tried to hold these people up to some form accountability. The EFF is awsome in every way.

    Now if only people would hold them accountable for everything else.

  18. Man, if I worked for the NSA, I would be begging to have our agency logo changed to that. That is just awesome.

  19. Williamsbk: yes indeed, without asking for so much as the time of day from Congress.
    Ken Starr’s (remember him?) family trusts have heavy interests in AIG, IIRC. Carlyle Group was a heavy counterparty ,with Bear Stearns on the other end of many swaps, etc, IIRC.
    Does this Admin only bailout when it benefits big $$ Republicans, while letting Dem big-time $$ crash and burn (Hi Lehman!)??

  20. Please can we get the source of that logo? I, too, would buy a t-shirt, especially if some/all of the proceeds went to the EFF.

  21. Great news! I hope there’s an Action Alert for this one somewhere along the line – I’ll contribute in a heartbeat.

    Long time supporter since 98, gave at DEFCON this year, and will give again because of this.

  22. Simply put- this whole situation is overlooking a fundamental truth defect. IF our literal constitution were being followed in addition to common law the situation would be vastly altered.

    Evidence obtained unlawfully should be held as inadmissible.
    Including otherwise not discoverable data or evidence. And thus all so tainted evidence held to literally not exist for legal considerations.

    It was at one time called the exclusionary rule. See:


    And it’s darkly scary potential nemesis:


    Which gives a short overview of why the conservative ideology seeks to extirpate that exclusionary rule whatever it takes. Even if it means literally defying the constitution itself.

    So it SHOULD follow with all cases of data from NoSuchAgency wiretaps being entered for a NON-Terrorist case. It simply SHOULD be-Data Inadmissable. And the case void. Only a child or the painfully naive would expect that inadmissability to be real.

    We currently have on one side a concerted effort to deprecate the concept of tainted evidence.

    On the other side is the memory of truth. And the efforts like the EFF victory we currently are discussing. I feel us dangerously at risk. IF you doubt my logic? Invoking the words of Pastor Martin Niemöller might be in our future…

  23. Oh man, that’s made my heart swell right up. That’s just beautiful. I don’t rate their chances, and it’s gonna be akin to Scientology’s “Fair Game” rule from the Gubment…. but that’s taking the fight to the enemy, make no mistake.

    The First and the Fourth amendments need support desperately right now. It’s great to see them being stood up for, hopefully effectively.

    And yeah, I’d buy that shirt, again especially if part of the proceeds went to the EFF.

  24. My god I wish I wasn’t living on my meager savings (a couple months’ expenses in reserve and uncertain employment prospects), I so wish I could afford to donate to them for doing this. If I was getting regular paychecks I’d kick in $100 for them after seeing the headline alone.

    This is ballsy, contentious, and so very, very awesome. Thank you, EFF, for doing what my senators refuse to do (every patronizing letter I get back from Feinstein just makes me ire for her grow).

  25. About the logo: Upon getting to read the EFF page (which I was blocked from at work. Boo!), the logo appears multiple times. I have sent an email to the EFF requesting they produce shirts with their version of the NSA logo, and pointed to the comments here as proof that the design would be popular.
    *crosses fingers*

  26. I converted a bunch of widely scattered pdfs to web pages with links a while back, all relating to this issue.

    The collection is here:


    The downloadable collection is here:


    EFF v. ATT Complaint (initial filing):


    ACLU v. NSA :


    Here’s the complete list:

    January 20 House Judiciary Democratic Briefing Materials

    Here is The Briefing Transcript .

    Here is Bruce Fein’s Statement.

    Here is Jonathan Turley’s Statement

    Here is James Bamford’s Statement

    Here is Richard Hersh’s Statement

    Here is Caroline Fredrickson’s Statement.

    Here is Kate Martin’s Statement.

    Here is Rep. John Conyer’s Statement.

    Here is Rep. Maxine Water’s Statement.

    Here is Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee’s Statement.

    Here is the January 6, 2006 Letter to the President requesting information, signed by 28 Members of Congress.

    Here is Harvard Law’s Laurence Tribe’s Letter to Rep. Conyers.

    Here is the Judiciary Committee’s Ranking Member Conyer’s
    20 January 2001 Letter to Telecommunication Carriers.

    Here is Charter Communication’s Response to that letter.

    Here is AT&T1’s Response to that letter.
    1(merged result of AT&T/SBC)
    Here is TimeWarner’s Response to that letter.

    Here is T-Mobile’s Response to that letter.

    Here is Reps Conyers’ and Scott’s January 6, 2006 Letter to Rep. Sensenbrenner asking for an investigation into the FBI’s mishandling of the Brandon Mayfield Case.

    Here is the February 24, 2006 Letter to the President, again requesting the appointment of Special Counsel, signed by 18 Members of Congress.

    Here is the March 3, 2006 Letter to Senate Minority Leader Harold Reid from Senate Majority Leader William Frist, M.D., threatening to unilaterally restructure the Intelligence Oversight Committee to prevent a full investigation:

    Here is the former Assistant Secretary of State and current Yale Law Professor Harold Hongju Koh’s February 28, 2006 Statement before the Senate Judiciary Committee


    Here is Alfred Cummings’ January 18, 2006 CRS analysis, Statutory Procedures Under Which Congress Is To Be Informed of U.S. Intelligence Activities, Including Covert Actions

    Here is Elizabeth B. Bazan’s and Jennifer K. Elsea’s January 5, 2006 analysis, Presidential Authority to Conduct Warrantless Electronic Surveillance to Gather Foreign Intelligence Information

    Pending Litigation re Warrantless NSA Wiretapping


    Here is the
    EFF’s Class Action Complaint against AT&T1.


    Here is the
    ACLU’s Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief against the NSA.


    Here is the ACLU’S Pentagon Spying FOIA February 1, 2006, seeking from the Pentagon records from Talon, CIFA, MX of infiltration, intimidation, dirty tricks, and spying on Richard Hersh, The Truth Project, Inc., Patriots for Peace, Ft. Lauderdale Friends, Melbourne Florida Counter Inaugural, Broward Anti-War Coalition, Jeff Nall, Maria Telesca-Whipple, and others.


    Here is the ACLU’s October 30, 2003 Issues Briefing THE MATRIX: Total Information Awareness Reloaded – DATA MINING MOVES INTO THE STATES with addendum, Shane Harris’ February 23, 2006 National Journal report, TIA Lives On.

    Policy Statements


    Here is the American Bar Association’s Letter to President Bush.

    Here is the ABA’s Roster, Recommendations, and Report sent with that letter.

    Public Interest Law


    Morton H. Halperin is the Open Society Institute’s US Advocacy Director.

    Here is Morton Halperin’s January 6, 2006 paper
    A Legal Analysis of the NSA Warrantless Surveillance Program


    Kate Martin is the Director of the Center for National Security Studies.

    Here is Kate Martin’s and Brittany Benowitz’s
    December 20, 2005 NSA Spying Memo


    Here is my February 27 2006 article
    Big Brother Is Watching You

    Here is my May 18 2006 article
    Big Brother Is Watching You Part 2

    – dcm

  27. so, the only peeps that have anything to worry about are foreign terrorists and whoever is talking to foreign terrorists. . .am i missing something?

    Are you a parody troll? Your comment history says maybe. In case you’re serious:

    I, and at least one of the people who actually run this joint feel that so long as we don’t have a right to privacy, the terrorists are winning.

    It’s really not enough just to know they’ll never use it against us in court.

  28. I designed the logo — glad everyone likes it! We’re not sure if we’ll be printing shirts any time soon, but people are free to take the graphic and have their own made — either via silkscreen or cafepress or whatever.

    Here’s the link:



  29. I’m all for being passionate about the EFF, but isn’t it sort of gauche to tell people how much money you donate?

    I actually hope to work for the EFF one day, but that’s a long time off. First, I’d like to work for a place that pays enough so that I can donate that much to the EFF.

  30. I converted a bunch of widely scattered pdfs to web pages with links a while back, all relating to this issue.

    The collection is here:


    The downloadable collection is here:


    EFF v. ATT Complaint (initial filing):


    ACLU v. NSA :


    – dcm

    ps – I created an account to post links to these, but I guess from a reading of the rules boingboingers think I’m a linkwhore since I posted the document summary links to all of them. Sorry. Thought Your Readers might like to know where they are – and they are on topic. Whatever…

  31. “FIGHT THE BLACK MATH!!!” he thundered triumphantly, tears of gratitude, and of the mythic resonance of rebellion, standing in his eyes.

    I finally joined EFF, just now. Sincerest thanks, Cory. I’m gonna go buy a hardback of little brother now.

    I study math and actually KNOW people in the NSA. I fight their political ideas at every turn. Take a sharpie to the bathroom walls of Evans Hall in Berkeley if nothing else. (“insight a riot”)

    Empires CANNOT exist indefinitely. It would defy the laws of thermodynamics. May you live in interesting times.

  32. “Does this Admin only bailout when it benefits big $$ Republicans, while letting Dem big-time $$ crash and burn (Hi Lehman!)??”

    I only wish everyone would get this picture. Try Galbraith’s “Predator State” yet?

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