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US govt may appeal in AT&T wiretap case

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The US government and AT&T have been granted an opportunity to argue for dismissal of their case concerning the mass wiretapping of phone and email traffic, Reuters reports.

The US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Tuesday that the defendants' motion for dismissal, originally rejected by US District Court Judge Vaughn Walker back in July, will be heard.

The case was initiated by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in January, and alleges that AT&T gave the NSA unlawful access to citizens' phone and email records in a massive, warrantless, electronic dragnet.

The District Court had ruled that the government could not seek dismissal on grounds of revealing state secrets, essentially because the spy program has been mentioned enough times in the press and cited by enough public officials that it can't be regarded as a secret. The government argues that there are enough details thus far undisclosed that a court case would threaten national security.

Or at least, now it can try. ®

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