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The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) reports that New Jersey’s attorney general and other state officials were sued on Wednesday by the federal government in an effort to stop New Jersey from obtaining sensitive information that telcos had provided to the NSA earlier. Basically, the feds are doing everything in their power (which is a lot of power) to stop state-driven legal proceedings.
Zulina Farber, New Jersey’s Attorney General, along with other
officials sent subpoenas to telephone companies (including AT&T,
Verizon, and three others) on May 17 to ask for documentation
describing any customer records given to the NSA without a court order.
Farber started the process due to suspicion that state consumer
protection laws may have been violated. The feds are not pleased.
Accordingly, the article explains that “more than 20 lawsuits have been filed around the country alleging that the phone companies illegally assisted the NSA.”
So the question of the day: Is it illegal to do what the NSA says in such a case?
The government doesn’t think so, explaining that “sensitive national security information would be revealed” if such cases were allowed to proceed. The American Civil Liberties Union also has stepped up to the plate and filed complaints in over 20 states (including New Jersey) asking for further state investigation.
The federal government explains that New Jersey is “treading on federal turf” and that telcos complying with state officials would confirm or deny the existence of an illegal NSA program. And Bush and Co. have already pulled the we-can-neither-confirm-nor-deny move…