Fun_People Archive
4 Oct
... stay proceedings in the case until June 1999

Date: Tue,  4 Oct 94 13:53:54 PDT
To: Fun_People
Subject: ... stay proceedings in the case until June 1999

[Another lesson in subtlety, taught by the FBI... -psl]

Forwarded-by: bostic@CS.Berkeley.EDU (Keith Bostic)
Forwarded-by: (Josh Osborne)
Forwarded-by: email list server <listserv@Sunnyside.COM>



For immediate release
October 3, 1994

	Marc Rotenberg, EPIC Director
	David Sobel, EPIC Legal Counsel
	202 544 9240 (tel)


                 "STUNNED" BY BUREAU'S REQUEST

WASHINGTON, D.C.- A federal judge today denied the FBI's request 
for a five-year delay in processing documents concerning wiretap 
legislation now pending in Congress.  

     Saying he was "stunned" by the Bureau's attempt to postpone 
court proceedings for five years, U.S. District Judge Charles R. 
Richey ordered the FBI to release the material or to explain its 
reasons for withholding it by November 4.

     The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), a public 
interest research group based in Washington, DC, filed the Freedom 
of Information Act lawsuit on August 9, the day legislation was 
introduced in Congress to authorize the expenditure of $500 
million to make the nation's communications systems easier to 
wiretap.  The group is seeking the public release of two surveys 
cited by FBI Director Louis Freeh in support of the pending 

     The FBI had moved to stay proceedings in the case until June 
1999, more than five years after the filing of the initial 
request.  The Bureau asserted it was confronted with "a backlog of 
pending FOIA requests awaiting processing."  The FBI revealed that 
there are "an estimated 20 pages to be reviewed" but said that the 
materials would not be reviewed until "sometime in March 1999."

     Judge Richey rejected the FBI's claims in sharp language from 
the bench.  He told the government's attorney to "call Director 
Freeh and tell him I said this matter can be taken care of in an 
hour and a half."

     In court papers filed late last week, EPIC charged that 
the requested materials are far too important to be kept secret. 
"The requested surveys were part of the FBI's long-standing 
campaign to gain passage of unprecedented legislation requiring 
the nation's telecommunications carriers to redesign their 
telephone networks to more easily facilitate court-ordered 
wiretapping," said the EPIC brief.

     Earlier documents obtained through the FOIA in similar 
litigation with the FBI revealed no technical obstacles to the 
exercise of court-authorized wire surveillance.

     The FBI is pushing for quick enactment of the wiretap 
legislation in the closing days of the 103rd Congress.  A 
grassroots campaign to oppose the measure is being coordinated by 
EPIC and Voters Telecomm Watch.

     The Electronic Privacy Information Center is a project of 
Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, a membership 
organization based in Palo Alto, California, and the Fund for 
Constitutional Government, a Washington-based foundation dedicated 
to the protection of Constitutional freedoms. 202 544 9240 (tel), 
202 547 5482 (fax), (e-mail).
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[=] © 1994 Peter Langston []