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Defunct Saudi charity files NSA spying suit- WPost

Written by: Staff

WASHINGTON, March 2: Documents cited in a federal lawsuit by a defunct Islamic charity may provide the first detailed evidence of US residents being spied upon by US President George W. Bush's warrantless domestic spying program, The Washington Post reported today.

The newspaper said The Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, a Saudi organization that once operated a US branch in Oregon, filed a description of classified government records in a lawsuit on Tuesday and asked a judge to review the documents privately.

According to the newspaper, a source familiar with the records said they indicate the National Security Agency (NSA) intercepted conversations in 2004 between the foundation's director Suliman al-Buthe, who was in Saudi Arabia, and two US citizens in Washington who were lawyers for the organization.

The lawsuit says government officials provided al-Buthe -- apparently by accident -- copies of conversations he had with the attorneys, the Post said.

Al-Haramain alleges that the government intercepted the conversations without court permission and in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

The 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act made spying on American citizens in the United States illegal without the approval of a special secret court.

President Bush's domestic eavesdropping program, adopted after the September 11 attacks, allows the monitoring of international communications into and out of the United States of persons linked to al Qaeda or related terrorist groups.

In September 2004, the United States added the US branch of Al-Haramain and al-Buthe to its terrorist list, citing ties to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.


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