ACLU sues administration over overseas U.S. surveillance

UPI reports: A rights group sued to make five U.S. agencies prove Americans whose overseas communications are picked up by surveillance are fully protected under the law.

The American Civil Liberties Union said in its lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in New York, the CIA, National Security Agency, Justice Department, Defense Department and State Department have all but ignored a Freedom of Information Act request the non-partisan, non-profit group made in May and followed up on over successive months.

The FBI, Defense Department’s Defense Intelligence Agency, the Justice Department’s National Security Division and the State Department “have acknowledged receipt of the FOIA request and indicated its placement in their FOIA processing queues, but have provided no substantive response to date,” the lawsuit states.

The NSA provided four documents that were already publicly available and didn’t directly address the FOIA request, and the CIA said it wouldn’t comply with the request, citing an “unreasonably burdensome search,” says the lawsuit, which the ACLU filed with Yale Law School’s Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic.

The FOIA request and lawsuit seek to know what constitutional protections Americans’ international communications have under a several-times-modified December 1981 executive order signed by President Ronald Reagan that is frequently used by the Obama administration to justify NSA actions. [Continue reading…]

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