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NSA Spying: Are We About to Get a Peek Behind the Door?

This is potentially huge. And it sounds like the IG wants the case–that’s good.

Eric Lichtblau and James Risen have some amazing news.

Representative Rush Holt, a New Jersey Democrat and chairman of the Select Intelligence Oversight Panel, said in an interview that he planned to ask the inspector general of the N.S.A. to open what would be the first formal investigation by the agency into whether its eavesdropping program had improperly interfered with an American’s right to a fair trial

The Judge seems to think there may be some "there" there.

Mr. Timimi’s lawyers maintain that the N.S.A., without acquiring court-approved warrants, used the eavesdropping operation approved by President Bush weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks to wiretap his communications, and that the interceptions might include evidence that would point to his innocence in what they regard as a free-speech case. They charge that the government has intentionally withheld that material despite repeated requests.

The Justice Department has denied that it had any other evidence of eavesdropping against him other than what it turned over to his lawyers. But the federal judge in the case, Leonie M. Brinkema in Alexandria, Va., has expressed increasing annoyance over persistent questions about the N.S.A.’s possible role.

In a recently unsealed transcript of an October closed-court hearing in the case, the judge stated that she believed that the government appeared to have committed violations of federal rules governing evidence and discovery. She also ordered the government to search for further evidence of its use of secret surveillance operations against Mr. Timimi.

Timimi’s lawyer is our beloved Jonathan Turley, who has already met with the NSA’s IG’s office.

"In that meeting, we discussed how best to open an investigation into the matter," he wrote, and the inspector general’s staff made it clear that a formal referral from Congress for investigation would make it easier for them to start an inquiry

I have a theory about how this may have gone down. Timimi recalls specific conversations that he believes are exculpatory, Turley asked for regular discovery and the exculpatory conversations were not produced, though other incriminating conversations were. Then Turley asks again with specifics of the conversations and, voila, they find them.

Proof of discovery misconduct and, maybe, proof of exculpatory behavior by Timimi. Timimi may well get a second trial out of it, but I don’t know if he will be acquitted–It sounds like he has a blind sheik problem here, but don’t know enough of the specifics of the case.

What is going to suck for the AUSA’s is they are likely going to take the heat for the NSA not telling them the truth.

I don’t know whether Turley did this deliberately–like some kind of reverse perjury trap–or whether this just happened organically, but if what I think happened is correct, Turley and the IG have exactly the kind of crowbar in the crack that they need to wedge the door all the way open.

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