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Iran Press TV

US Supreme Court rejects challenge to surveillance law

Iran Press TV

Wed Feb 27, 2013 3:25AM GMT

The US Supreme Court has blocked an attempt by US citizens and human rights groups to challenge a surveillance law used to monitor overseas phone calls, text messages, and emails of foreigners abroad.

On Tuesday, the court ruled by a 5-4 vote that US journalists, lawyers, and human rights groups had no legal standing to sue to challenge the 2008 expansion of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) because they could not show they had suffered any injury.

The controversial surveillance law authorizes the US government, without identifying specific targets, to monitor foreigners and US citizens who communicate abroad with foreign targets and to gather intelligence.

The surveillance program was started by the George W. Bush administration shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

The law provides legal immunity to telecommunications providers to continue to collaborate with the country's intelligence agencies.

Justices 'have been reluctant to endorse standing theories that require guesswork,' said Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote for the court's majority.

The US citizens 'have set forth no specific facts demonstrating that the communications of their foreign contacts will be targeted,' he added.

Alito also said the 'respondents' allegations are necessarily conjectural. Simply put, respondents can only speculate as to how the attorney general and the Director of National Intelligence will exercise their discretion in determining which communications to target.'


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