Government and Verizon Ask Court to Dismiss Spy Suits Against Verizon Citing State Secrets Privilege, First Amendment

In RE: National Security Telecommunications

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ACLU of Northern CA

*** Media Advisory ***

WHAT: Verizon Communications Inc. and the Bush administration are asking the Court to dismiss the lawsuits filed against the telecommunications giant in a set of motions being argued on Thursday, August 30. Following revelations in an article in USA Today in May of last year, the three California affiliates of the ACLU sued Verizon to stop the company from continuing to provide the National Security Agency (NSA) with the personal phone records of millions of California customers. Numerous private suits were also filed, all of which have been consolidated for pretrial purposes before Judge Vaughn Walker of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

The various complaints allege that since September 11, 2001, Verizon has been providing the NSA with customers' phone records and access to the contents of customers' electronic communications without their consent and without a warrant, court order or any other legal process.

The Bush Administration is asking the Court to dismiss all of the cases filed against Verizon on the ground that the lawsuits are barred by the state secrets privilege. Verizon seeks dismissal of the suits on numerous grounds, including the novel claim that its action in turning over customer records to the government is protected by the First Amendment.

ACLU-NC Staff Attorney Ann Brick

ACLU Cooperating Attorney Laurence F. Pulgram, Fenwick & West

Interim Class Counsel for MCI Class, Barry R. Himmelstein, Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann and Bernstein, LLP

Interim Class Counsel for Verizon Class, Vincent I. Parrett, Motley, Rice LLC


Thursday, August 30, 2007, 2:00 p.m.


U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker
450 Golden Gate Ave.
17th Floor
San Francisco

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