April 3, 2006

Judge won’t open NSA wiretaps for terror case

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A U.S. judge overseeing a case
against a Pakistani-American father and son accused of
terrorism-related activity denied on Monday a defense request
to review related National Security Agency wiretaps.

The legal request on behalf of Hamid Hayat and his father
Umer followed the revelation late last year that the United
States had monitored some international communications with
people in the United States without court order.

Hamid Hayat is on trial on charges of lying to U.S. law
enforcement officials and providing material support to
terrorists by attending terror training camps in Pakistan. His
father is accused of lying to the FBI about those activities.

In January, defense lawyers asked for "any and all
documents, records or recording reflecting the use and
information obtained throughout National Security Agency
wiretaps related to the defendants."

Judge Garland Burrell Jr. of the U.S. District Court for
Eastern California said the government most recently conveyed a
classified response to the motion, and then without further
comment denied the defense motion.

In a separate order, the judge denied another defense
motion to produce evidence, but the document was redacted
apparently for security reasons and offered no details.

The government last month rested its case in the trial,
with their key witness a paid FBI informant who testified that
Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, lived in
California in 1998 and 1999.

Experts have said the informant was likely mistaken,
potentially hurting his credibility before jurors.