NSA's domestic spying was illegal, federal judge rules

A federal judge today ruled that the NSA's warrantless wiretapping program was illegal. In doing so, the judge rejects the Obama administration's attempts to maintain the secrecy around the widely criticized program introduced by Bush after the 9/11 attacks:
In a 45-page opinion, Judge Vaughn R. Walker ruled that the government had violated a 1978 federal statute requiring court approval for domestic surveillance when it intercepted phone calls of Al Haramain, a now-defunct Islamic charity in Oregon, and of two lawyers who were representing it in 2004. Declaring that the plaintiffs had been "subjected to unlawful surveillance," the judge said that the government was liable to pay them damages. The ruling delivered a blow to the Bush administration's claims that its warrantless surveillance program, which Mr. Bush secretly authorized shortly after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, was lawful. Under the program, the National Security Agency monitored Americans' e-mail messages and phone calls without court approval, even though the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, required warrants.
Federal Judge Finds N.S.A. Wiretapping Program Illegal (NYT)