The widespread use of illegal electronic surveillance in the name of “national security” is a central form of government misconduct. This case involves both domestic and so-called foreign security surveillance and in an early landmark decision established a plaintiff’s right to bring a civil action without having proof of wiretapping.
Filed on behalf of Arthur Kinoy, movement lawyer, law professor and a founder of CCR, until recently the case involved Kinoy’s right to discover wiretap materials relating to twenty-three overhearings, ten of which were characterized as foreign. After seven years of litigation, the government admitted that the surveillance of Kinoy and his clients far exceeded those twenty-three overhearings. In fact, Kinoy was told thal the govemment had discovered at least four hundred volumes disclosing at least two hundred additional overhearings. Many, if not all, of the overheard conversation involved legal advice given by Kinoy to clients. ln disclosing these additional taps, the government indicated that their system for finding such taps in FBI files is totally inadequate and that there are probably more, as yet unretrieved, overhearings of Kinoy. We are pressing for fuller disclosure and believe we will find even more surveillance of Kinoy and his clients–people who have symbolized the struggles of people’s movements for the last twenty-five years.
The government claims that much of the requested material is privileged and therefore non-discoverable for national security reasons. This claim is particularly outrageous because of Kinoy’s status a a prominent attorney and the absence of any legitimate reason to investigate him.
Michael Ratuer, Rhonda Copelon with Marshall Perlin and CCR cooperating attorney Jeremiah Gutman