The Obama administration is challenging an appeals court ruling which allows the ACLU's lawsuit against the 2008 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Amendments Act to proceed (Love the redundancy!).
The appeals court ruling, which was issued in March 2011, held that our case could forward (sic), rejecting the administration’s arguments that the case should be dismissed because our clients could not prove their communications would be collected under the law.
The ACLU filed the suit "less than an hour" after President Bush signed it into law back in 2008.
The suit was filed on behalf of a broad group of attorneys and human rights, labor, legal and media organizations whose work requires them to engage in sensitive telephone and email communications with people outside the U.S. Our plaintiffs include Amnesty International USA, Human Rights Watch, The Nation, the Service Employees International Union and journalists Chris Hedges and Naomi Klein.
According to the ACLU,
That law gives the government unprecedented authority to monitor Americans’ international emails and phone calls.
At the end of this year,
The Act is scheduled to sunset in December 2012, and we’re calling for amendments that would prohibit dragnet surveillance, require the government to be more transparent about how the law is being used and place stronger restrictions on the retention and dissemination of information that is collected.
Of course, the government's argument is another fine example of circular thinking:
The Justice Department claims that the plaintiffs should not be able to sue without first showing that they have been monitored under the program – information that the government refuses to provide.
So let's be perfectly clear. According to the US government, one cannot sue unless it's proven that one was monitored, but the US government will not disclose whether one has been monitored. Keen!