Groundhog Day

Monday, November 20, 2006 at 1:51 | Posted in Legal, USA | 4 Comments
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AFP writes about a trial in a US federal court where the telecom corporation AT&T are sued by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) for their participation in NSA’s notorious easedropping programme. AT&T provided the government phone and e-mail records of millions of their customers without obtaining warrants. EFF attorney Cindy Cohn is apparently not happy with the federal governments approach to the case:

“I feel a little like it’s Groundhog Day,” Cohn told the judge, referring to a comedy film in which the lead character continuously relives the same day. “I’m having to repeat the same arguments over and over again.

I can somehow imagine how the argumentation must be going between EFF and government counselors:

EFF: “Shame on you! You were spying the American people without authorization.”

Government: “Can’t discuss that. It would damage the national security”

EFF: “It is illegal to spy the American people”

Government: “Not if it is on grounds of national security.”

EFF: “That is a matter for the court to decide.”

Government: “The issue can not be discussed in a court because a trial would endanger the national security.”

EFF: “That is a matter for the court to decide.”

Government: “A court can not decide whether a court can discuss whether discussing the case in a court of law would violate the national security because such argumentation would endanger the national security.”

EFF: “So you are saying that a court of law can not decide what is legal and what is not?”

Government: “No, we are not saying that. What we are saying is that a court can not decide whether or not it is legal for a court of law to decide whether a court can discuss whether discussing the case in a court of law would violate the national security because such argumentation would endanger the national security.”

EFF: “That is a matter for the court to decide.”

And so it goes on and on. Groundhog indeed. It was such a long time ago I saw the film that I do not remember what the reporter had to do to get out of endlessly reliving the events of his Groundhog Day. Maybe the federal court can figure out something.

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4 Comments »

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  1. He had to truly love his colleague. That is probably a bit too difficult in this case.

  2. Right! I agree, no chance of escape in sight. ūüėõ

  3. we’re doomed!

  4. Those parties can not fall in love with each other because it would be against the national security and a court could not discuss whether or not it would be legal because discussing that would be against the national security.


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