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San Francisco Fed Judge Declines To Penalize Justice Dept Lawyers For Flouting His Orders in Warrantless Wiretapping Case

Judge Walker/photo penn law school

Judge Walker/photo penn law school

This case  has far reaching implications. The fact the Obama administration has sided with the Bush administration has alarmed civil liberty groups. The question here is how transparent is this administration going to be? And how far will it go to keep things secret?

By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer

A federal judge yesterday declined to penalize Justice Department lawyers for flouting his orders in a sensitive electronic surveillance case where the Obama administration sided with its predecessors to the alarm of civil liberties groups.

But U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker did not give the government what it wanted, either. The San Francisco-based judge batted away fresh Justice Department attempts to appeal his rulings, which have been critical of the Obama approach to protecting state secrets.

Instead, the judge directed attorneys for the administration and for a now-defunct Oregon charity to prepare court filings this summer about the legality of the government’s warrantless eavesdropping program and the scope of the executive branch’s authority.

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