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Bush White House subpoenaed by wiretap lawyers

Michael Roston and Brian Beutler
Published: Tuesday August 29, 2006

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Two attorneys representing claimants in a lawsuit over wiretapping by the National Security Agency claim that they have sent subpoenas to the White House today, RAW STORY has learned.

Bruce Afran and Carl Mayer, who say they represent hundreds of plaintiffs in lawsuits against Verizon, AT&T, and the US Government, will announnce today that they are serving both the Bush administration and Verizon with subpoenas.

The announcement is due to arrive at 4:30 PM, outside of Verizon headquarters in New York, RAW STORY has confirmed.

Mayer tells RAW STORY that the subpoenaes, directed to President George Bush, the Office of Legal Counsel, the Department of Justice, and the Chief Legal Counsel for Verizon, have already been sent, and should reach their targets tomorrow.

The subpoenas come on the heels of two federal court decisions that were seen as blows to the Bush Administration warrantless spying program.

Earlier this month, federal judge Anna Diggs Taylor ruled the entire program unconstitutional and illegal; another federal judge in San Francisco rejected the Bush Administration's attempt to dismiss these lawsuits by claiming they breach national security.

Mayer explained that the subpoena seeks to learn "whether the Bush administration has unlawfully targeted journalists, peace activists, libertarians, members of congress or generated an 'enemies list.'"

Afran, a former Green Party candidate for New Jersey Senate, told RAW STORY he expected the White House to again claim that the state secrets doctrine forbade it from answering the subpoena, but called the claim "absolute nonsense."

"That's an invitation for presidents to write their own rules and we've had judges multiple times say that state secrets is not a defense," he explained, adding, "We hope the White House will realize the need to cooperate."

The full subpoena may be read below. The original document may also be viewed in PDF format here.

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[Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Mr. Afran as a current candidate for Senate. In fact, his Senate run ended in the 2000 election cycle. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.]