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Name: Kathryn
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Hometown: Virginia
Member since: 2001
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Has NSA Wiretapping Violated Attorney-Client Privilege?

The first time Adis Medunjanin tried to call Robert C. Gottlieb in mid-2009, Gottlieb was out of the office. Medunjanin was agitated. He had to speak to an attorney. Gottlieb’s assistant told him he would be back soon. When he spoke to the lawyer a little later, he told him he might need legal representation. He thought he might be under investigation.

Over the next six months and over forty-two phone calls, Medunjanin sought legal advice from Gottlieb. When he was arrested in January 2010 on charges that he tried to bomb the New York subway, it was Gottlieb who defended him, receiving security clearance to review government documents pertinent to the case in the process.

Gottlieb was preparing his defense when a federal officer in charge of information distribution emailed him that there was new classified information he needed to review at the US Eastern District Court in Brooklyn. “I went over to the Brooklyn Federal courthouse, went up to the secured room, gained entry with the secret security codes, opened the file cabinet that is also secure and in the second drawer was a CD,” Gottlieb told me. On that CD were recordings of every single one of his forty-two phone calls with Medunjanin before he was taken into custody and indicted on January 7, 2010.

Such calls are normally sacrosanct under the principle of attorney-client privilege, the ability to speak confidentially with your lawyer. But a leak to The Guardian last summer of National Security Agency (NSA) procedures that are supposed to protect privileged calls showed that some attorney-client privileged calls are not subject to internal rules that detail the instances when a wiretap should be turned off. A later version of the procedures declassified by the NSA last August contains the same language.

http://www.thenation.com/article/178225/has-nsa-wiretapping-violated-attorney-client-privilege
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