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Surveillance Can Continue Amid Court Appeal

October 05, 2006|From the Associated Press

CINCINNATI — The Bush administration can continue its warrantless surveillance program while it appeals a judge's ruling that the program is unconstitutional, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.

The president has said the program is needed in the war on terrorism; opponents argue it oversteps constitutional boundaries on free speech, privacy and executive powers.

The unanimous ruling from a three-judge panel of the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals gave little explanation for the decision. In the three-paragraph ruling, judges said they had weighed the likelihood that an appeal would succeed, the potential damage to both sides and the public interest.

"We are pleased to see that it will be allowed to continue while the Court of Appeals examines the trial court's decision, with which we strongly disagree," White House Deputy Press Secretary Dana Perino said.

The program monitors phone calls and e-mails to or from the U.S. involving people the government suspects of having terrorist links. A secret court has been set up to grant warrants, but the government says it can't always wait for a court to take action.

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