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Appeals Court Declines to Decide Spying Case

Alex Constantine - August 22, 2008

The Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO—A federal appeals court has declined to decide whether telecommunications companies can be sued for helping government terrorism investigators eavesdrop on their customers without a warrant.

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals sent a lawsuit against AT&T back to a trial judge to consider in light of a new law that shields telecommunications companies from such legal attacks.

Some 45 other lawsuits against other companies were awaiting the outcome of the AT&T case. Those legal challenges essentially ended in July when Congress overhauled bitterly disputed rules on secret government eavesdropping.

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