This is a civil action by CCR attorney Arthur Kinoy and his daughter, Joanne Kinoy, for damages and injunctive relief for electronic surveillance conducted in violation of the Fourth Amendment and 18 U.S.C. Section 2520.
Unlike what occurs in a criminal proceeding, the government did not affirm or deny wiretapping. Rather they moved to dismiss the action, which motion was denied by the District Court in July 1971. Subsequently, the government, in answering the complaint, denied “illegal and unconstitutional surveillance” of Arthur Kinoy, thus initially refusing under a claim of executive privilege to disclose the existence of surveillance.
Finally, on May 25, 1973, spurred by plaintiffs’ discovery efforts, the government, on the basis of a partial search of agencies and indices, repudiated its answer and admitted that Arthur Kinoy had indeed been overheard by electronic means 23 times on alleged national and foreign security surveillances conducted without a court order, and dating back to 1951.
After this admission, plaintiffs sought discovery with respect to the authorizations, logs and other evidence derived from the surveillance, as well as with respect to the scope of the government’s search in determining the extent of the surveillance (the 23 admitted surveillances are but the tip of the iceberg of actual surveillance of Kinoy).
The government has successfully held up discovery for more than a year by filing a motion for summary judgment which urges, among other filings. that the Court hold that warrantless electronic surveillance for so-called foreign security purposes is leg al, and that based on selected information that it sub mitted secretly to the court, the surveillances in this case are of that variety. The government also insists on the completely untenable position that United States v. United States District Court (in which attorney Kinoy won an 8-0 decision from the Supreme Court that warrantless national security violates not only the wiretap statute but also the 1st and 4th Amendments) should not be applied to surveillance situations before its decision·- a position that would elevate the Watergate bugging, among others, to the realm of legality.
CCR attorneys have filed extensive papers in opposition to the government’s positions-papers which argue strenuously for the right of full discovery and for the inapplicability of the Executive’s claimed privilege from having to disclose the nature and contents of its surveillance activities. In support of these arguments, information derived from discovery in the Dellinger v. Mitchell ease and received under protective order, was recently filed with the court by way of exposing the misrepresentations and fallacies inherent in the government’s position .
Rhonda Copelon, Arthur Kinoy, with Jeremiah Gutman and Michael Ratner