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NSA surveillance defies Constitution [Letter]

Thanks for publishing the article "Lawsuit targets use of warrantless NSA wiretaps in criminal prosecutions" (April 7). It seems that Jamshid Muhtorov, accused of providing support to a terrorist group, was a victim of FBI and National Security Agency surveillance, as his phone conversations were heard and his emails read. The article indicated that the evidence was gathered "under a 2008 law that authorizes foreign intelligence surveillance without warrants."

A basic legal tenet is that a defendant, through the discovery process, has the right to see the government's evidence. However, in this case, the defense has been denied access as the government is claiming the evidence is classified. So the defendant is challenging the constitutionality of the 2008 law. How can this law be constitutional? In U.S. jurisprudence, a defendant is innocent until proven guilty. If there is suspicion, then the government should be required to obtain a court order allowing such surveillance.

As a long-time protester, I will closely follow this case. In the shock of the 9/11 attack, legislators passed laws eviscerating constitutional protections. It is time to turn the clock back and end the Patriot Act and other such legislation which shredded constitutional protections.

I can't thank Edward Snowden enough for revealing so many examples of sordid surveillance programs. The hope now is that the courts will eventually rule in favor of privacy and against the bogus claims of national security. Then our legislators, who swore to uphold the Constitution, would act to protect our basic rights — freedom of speech, no illegal searches and seizures and due process.

Max Obuszewski, Baltimore

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Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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