A federal judge in San Francisco ruled Wednesday that federal officials broke the law when they wire-tapped Al Haramain,
an international Islamic charity that had an operation in Ashland.
The New York Times reported
today that Judge Vaughan Walker
found the National Security Agency illegally engaged in warrantless wiretapping. The ruling comes nearly six years after the feds froze Al Haramain's assets and declared it a "terrorist organization" for alleged ties to Osama bin Laden
Portland lawyer Tom Nelson
originally filed suit
on Al Haramain's behalf in 2006, alleging the feds wiretapped conversations between the Oregon charity and two of its Washington lawyers.
Although Al Haramain is long gone from Oregon, Judge Walker's ruling validates Nelson's concerns and marks a major defeat for the government's contention—formulated under the Bush administration and defended by the Obama administration—that warrantless wiretapping is legal.