Feds Seek Dismissal Of Spy Case Against AT&T

The federal government moved to dismiss a class action lawsuit that claimed AT&T helped the National Security Agency secretly collect information on Americans' communications.

May 16, 2006

1 Min Read
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The federal government moved to dismiss a class action lawsuit that claimed AT&T helped the National Security Agency secretly collect information on Americans' communications.

The U.S. Department of Justice filed a request over the weekend to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The EFF sued AT&T in January, claiming the telecommunications company violated the law by helping the federal government obtain information for its NSA surveillance program.

DOJ filed a notice last week saying that it intended to intervene and seek dismissal because the information contained in the suit includes military and state secrets. It argued that exposing the program could harm national security. The federal government followed through on the notice over the weekend, filing a formal request for dismissal.

EFF argues that the program has been the subject of front page news articles and government press conferences, and therefore should no longer be considered secret.

Key declarations in the case are under seal, but a former telephone company technician's broad description of how he believes AT&T was involved made it into public legal documents.Michael Balmoris, of AT&T, has said the company follows all laws regarding government requests for assistance. He would not comment specifically on the NSA program, saying the company avoids comment on matters regarding national security and pending lawsuits.

In the meantime, Working Assets, a phone company that bills itself as the one to choose for social change, reported that the number of calls from customers fleeing other telecommunications providers tripled Friday after USA Today reported that AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth assisted the NSA with its spy program.

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