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Wiretapping

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NEWS
May 21, 2012 | By David G. Savage
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court agreed Monday to consider blocking a constitutional challenge to the government's secret wiretapping of international phone calls and emails. At issue is whether Americans who have regular dealings with overseas clients and co-workers can sue to challenge the sweep of this surveillance if they have a “reasonable fear” their calls will be monitored. The case, to be heard in the fall, will put a spotlight on a secret surveillance program that won congressional approval in the last year of President George W. Bush's presidency.
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NATIONAL
April 7, 2014 | Ken Dilanian
When federal prosecutors charged Colorado resident Jamshid Muhtorov in 2012 with providing support to a terrorist organization in his native Uzbekistan, court records suggested the FBI had secretly tapped his phones and read his emails. But it wasn't just the FBI. The Justice Department acknowledged in October that the National Security Agency had gathered evidence against Muhtorov under a 2008 law that authorizes foreign intelligence surveillance without warrants, much of it on the Internet.
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NATIONAL
December 29, 2011 | By Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times
Residential telephone customers can sue the government for allegedly eavesdropping on their private communications in a warrantless "dragnet of ordinary Americans," a federal appeals court ruled Thursday. Lawyers for customers of AT&T and other telecommunications providers hailed the ruling for allowing the courts to decide whether widespread warrantless wiretapping violated their constitutional rights. "It's huge. It means six years after we started trying, the American people may get a judicial ruling on whether the massive spying done on them since 9/11 is legal or not," said Cindy Cohn, legal director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which was among those fighting for a day in court.
BUSINESS
March 25, 2014 | By Stuart Pfeifer
Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles dismissed criminal charges against nine people in a $30-million stock-manipulation case after concluding that misstatements in obtaining court approval for key wiretap recordings made the evidence unusable at trial. The dismissals were an embarrassing setback for prosecutors who were bursting with pride last year when they announced the indictments, the result of a three-year investigation. U.S. Atty. Andre Birotte Jr. said investigators had relied heavily on wiretap evidence, which is rarely used in white-collar cases.
SPORTS
April 24, 2012 | Staff and wire reports
While Louisiana state police and the FBI started a wiretapping probe into the New Orleans Saints and General Manager Mickey Loomis , assistant head coach Joe Vitt called allegations that Loomis had his Superdome booth wired so he could listen to opposing coaches "ludicrous. " "It's absolutely ludicrous. It's impossible," Vitt said Tuesday. "I've never heard of it before. That's something from 'Star Wars.' When I first heard something about it being a wiretap, I thought they were talking about Sammy 'the Bull' Gravano or something.
SPORTS
April 25, 2012
An ESPN report has alleged that New Orleans Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis had a device in his Superdome suite that allowed him to listen in on the game-day communications of opposing coaching staffs from 2002 through 2004. The Saints have vigorously denied the report, with team spokesman Greg Bensel calling it "1,000% false. " Writers from around the Tribune Co. will discuss which side they think is telling the truth, the Saints or ESPN's sources. Check back throughout the day for their responses and join the conversation by voting in the poll and leaving a comment of your own. Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times I believe ESPN.
OPINION
June 25, 2008
Re "Better tapping," editorial, June 23 The Democratic Party has once again reminded me why I registered Green Party for a dozen years before switching back to vote for Barack Obama in the primary. By capitulating to President Bush on funding the Iraq occupation and giving the telecommunications companies immunity for illegal domestic wiretapping, Democrats (with a few notable exceptions) have shown that they are not a serious or effective opposition party. I can only hope a clean sweep in November will strengthen the backbones of the party leaders enough that I won't regret my decision to rejoin the Democrats.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 1, 2010 | By Carol J. Williams
In a repudiation of the Bush administration's anti-terrorism surveillance program, a federal judge ruled Wednesday that the government violated federal law when it failed to seek warrants to spy on two lawyers working for an Islamic charity in Oregon. U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker rejected assertions by both Presidents Bush and Obama that their state secrets privilege shields them from lawsuits filed by American citizens investigated under a disputed domestic spying program launched after 9/11.
WORLD
November 30, 2006 | From Times Wire Reports
A reporter for Britain's top-selling tabloid newspaper pleaded guilty to plotting to tap the telephones of the royal family. News of the World royal correspondent Clive Goodman was facing charges at London's Old Bailey criminal court, accused of unlawfully intercepting communications in the household of Prince Charles. Private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, who appeared with Goodman, admitted to the same charge and also pleaded guilty to five charges of unlawfully intercepting voicemail messages.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 10, 2006 | From Times Staff Reports
The lawyer for Kirk Kerkorian's former wife filed suit Wednesday against the billionaire investor's attorneys, alleging that they illegally wiretapped his telephone calls with his client during the divorce proceedings.
OPINION
May 22, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
Pushed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Obama administration may ask Congress for the power to snoop on more types of communication online. The timing couldn't be worse, given the outcry over the Justice Department secretly grabbing journalists' phone records and emails in its pursuit of government leakers. The bigger issue with what the FBI is seeking, though, is that it applies 20th century assumptions about surveillance to 21st century technologies. Congress passed the Wiretap Act in 1968 to give federal investigators the power to listen in on suspects' phone calls if they obtained a federal court's permission.
WORLD
March 7, 2013 | By Tom Kington
ROME -- Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi was given a one-year jail sentence Thursday for breach of confidentiality after the publication of illegally obtained wiretaps by a newspaper controlled by his family. Berlusconi remains free pending appeals, and it's considered unlikely that the jail sentence will ever be enforced. But the verdict by a Milan court adds to a mounting number of legal tangles faced by Berlusconi, whose political coalition came in second in elections last month.
NATIONAL
February 26, 2013 | By David G. Savage
WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court on Tuesday threw out a broad lawsuit that challenged the constitutionality of the government's program of secret wiretapping of international phone calls and emails, ruling that none of the plaintiffs has “standing” to sue because they cannot prove their messages were intercepted. The 5-4 ruling is the latest of many that has shielded the government's anti-terrorism programs from being challenged in court. Over the past decade, the justices have repeatedly killed or quietly ended lawsuits that sought to expose or contest anti-terrorism programs, including secret surveillance, mass arrests of immigrants from the Mideast and drone strikes that killed American citizens abroad.
NEWS
October 31, 2012 | By Michael McGough
Civil libertarians are upbeat after an argument in the Supreme Court this week over whether lawyers, activists and academics can challenge the constitutionality of a law authorizing the wiretapping of potential terrorists abroad -- who may be conversing or swapping emails with Americans. The plaintiffs, who carry on confidential conversations with foreign clients and sources, say the law chills them in the exercise of their rights. As is often the case, the civil liberties groups are pinning their hopes on Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who has voted with liberals on the court in previous cases arising from the war on terrorism.  Kennedy seemed receptive to the plaintiffs' argument that they have standing to sue because they fear that their confidential conversations with sources and clients are being monitored.   “I think the lawyer would engage in malpractice if he talked on the telephone with some of these clients, given this statute,” Kennedy told Solicitor General Donald Verrilli.
BUSINESS
October 30, 2012 | By David G. Savage, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - Supreme Court justices were surprisingly skeptical Monday about arguments by a top Justice Department lawyer who in a hearing sought to squelch an anti-wiretapping lawsuit brought by lawyers, journalists and activists. At issue in the surveillance case is the government's power to secretly monitor international phone calls and email under a stepped-up monitoring policy approved by Congress four years ago. It allows U.S. spy agencies to target people or places overseas and to intercept all the phone calls and email to and from these people or places.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 14, 2012 | By Victoria Kim, Los Angeles Times
A federal judge on Monday shot down Hollywood private eye Anthony Pellicano's bid to be released on bail during an appeal of his 2008 convictions for racketeering and wiretapping. Judge Dale Fischer, who presided over the private investigator's six-week trial, said she was not convinced the 68-year-old was no longer a threat to society, despite his attorney's pleas that Pellicano suffered from a serious eye condition and had neither the resources nor the motivation to engage in the intimidation and sleuthing that landed him in federal prison.
NEWS
November 2, 1995 | From Reuters
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has proposed a national wiretapping system that would give law enforcement officials the capacity to monitor as many as one out of every 100 phone lines in high crime areas, a newspaper reported Thursday. The plan, as outlined in the Oct. 16 issue of the Federal Register, would exceed the current average number of wiretaps of fewer than 850 in a year, or one in every 174,000 phone lines, the New York Times said in today's editions.
NEWS
May 13, 1988 | CARL INGRAM, Times Staff Writer
The Senate passed and sent to Gov. George Deukmejian on Thursday major legislation sought by law enforcement for 20 years that would give California peace officers the authority to eavesdrop electronically on the telephone conversations of suspected big-league drug traffickers. Deukmejian, who as a state senator in the 1970s unsuccessfully carried two wiretap bills, promised to sign the measure.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 22, 2012 | By Jeff Gottlieb, Ruben Vives and Joe Mozingo, Los Angeles Times
The negotiations went down during weeks of profane and elliptical conversation, an FBI informant asking for a hard figure: How much cash would it take to bribe Cudahy officials into letting him open his marijuana dispensary? Two council members and a longtime city official were arrested by federal agents Friday morning and charged with bribery. But documents released as part of the criminal complaint suggest that the malfeasance is far more widespread. More than 130 pages of wiretapped conversations depict a city rife with corruption, as well as bribery so pervasive that it's practically expected.
NEWS
May 21, 2012 | By David G. Savage
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court agreed Monday to consider blocking a constitutional challenge to the government's secret wiretapping of international phone calls and emails. At issue is whether Americans who have regular dealings with overseas clients and co-workers can sue to challenge the sweep of this surveillance if they have a “reasonable fear” their calls will be monitored. The case, to be heard in the fall, will put a spotlight on a secret surveillance program that won congressional approval in the last year of President George W. Bush's presidency.
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