Did the feds spy on you? Judge hears 2002 Olympics snooping claim

A lawsuit filed in August alleges the NSA collected the contents of text messages and emails and metadata about every phone call in in the Salt Lake City area before and during the 2002 Olympic Games, Salt Lake City, Utah | Composite image, St. George News
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The National Security Agency asked a judge Thursday to dismiss a lawsuit from a former Salt Lake City mayor who says the agency conducted a mass warrantless surveillance program during the 2002 Winter Olympics.

The NSA argues the claims are implausible speculation about a program that may never have existed, but the government faced pointed questions from U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby.

“These plaintiffs allege willful, intentional, unlawful conduct in violation of constitutional rights by our elected representatives at the highest levels and by our government,” Shelby said. A courtroom might be the only place where the matter can be addressed, he said.

Salt Lake City attorney Rocky Anderson, who was the mayor at the time of the games, said he learned about the program from a 2013 newspaper report and has since confirmed it with an unnamed source who worked for the NSA during the Olympics.

They have not denied these allegations. They just somehow say they are implausible,” he said.

The lawsuit filed in August alleges the NSA collected the contents of text messages and emails and metadata about every phone call in in the Salt Lake City area before and during the games that took place less than six months after the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

It says then-President George W. Bush and then-Vice President Dick Cheney authorized the program, and they are also named as defendants in the case. They haven’t responded to the claims and won’t be required to unless Shelby allows the lawsuit to go forward. He didn’t immediately rule Thursday.

The NSA also argues the court can’t address the claims dating back 14 years because they are too old.

Anderson contends the spy agency likely still has data collected during that time, pointing to a massive NSA data storage center about 20 minutes south of Salt Lake City. The government, though, dismisses that argument.

The six plaintiffs include Republican Utah lawmaker Howard Stephenson, who said he signed onto the lawsuit because he’s concerned about citizens’ privacy. “We shouldn’t look the other way and ignore the laws just because there’s a national security issue,” he said.

Anderson served as a Democratic mayor of Utah’s capital city from 2000 to 2008. He was an outspoken leader who led a protest of the Iraq War during Bush’s 2007 visit to Salt Lake City.

Written by LINDSAY WHITEHURST, Associated Press

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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8 Comments

  • ladybugavenger July 15, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    The Feds are always spying on Bob.
    poor Bob

    • Bob July 16, 2016 at 12:17 pm

      nah, they don’t bother. i dont have enough influence

      • ladybugavenger July 17, 2016 at 12:44 pm

        The FBI is always spying on me ?. They must want what I have ?

        • .... July 17, 2016 at 2:13 pm

          Ladybug. .they want your Cheetos. !

    • .... July 16, 2016 at 1:19 pm

      Yeah Bob can’t be trusted because he lies and pretends he knows everything about everything and he made a false claim against St George news.
      he claimed that St George news deletes all his comments about me and St George news gives me free reign on this site ! Well guess what ? liar liar pants on fire lmao !

      I’m not LDS and would never be. but I don’t come here and post lies about them and their way of doing things out of pure hatred and ignorance.

    • .... July 16, 2016 at 8:28 pm

      Yeah not even the feds like Bob

  • Billy Madison July 16, 2016 at 11:29 am

    They can’t spy on me because I wear a tin foil hat and my internet has a password that spells out my dog’s name.

    • .... July 16, 2016 at 1:27 pm

      They can’t spy on me either because my password is the first 3 letters of the alphabet and the government can’t figure out which 3 letters it is !

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