DOJ Fights State Wiretap Probes

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A San Francisco federal judge today considers whether the federal government can stop states from investigating telephone companies suspected of providing information for a terrorist surveillance program.

Officials in five states are investigating whether AT&T and Verizon violated privacy laws by providing information to the National Security Agency, Henry Weinstein of the Los Angeles Times reports. Some of the states have issued subpoenas.

The Justice Department has filed suits to block the probes. The government contends that requiring the companies to release information about wiretaps or data mining could cause “exceptionally grave harm to national security.”

The suits, filed in New Jersey, Missouri, Connecticut, Maine, and Vermont, have been consolidated and transferred to San Francisco.

U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker is hearing arguments in the case today.

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