The Detroit judge is the first to shut down the program that involves secretly recording conversations between people in the United States and people abroad, saying it violates rights to free speech and privacy.
Government spokespersons continue to defend the program, but have claimed that state secrets would have to be revealed to prove the program falls within President Bush's authority. Representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union -- which has filed numerous lawsuits on behalf of journalists, scholars and lawyers that have said their jobs were made harder by the program -- said that enough information about the program to justify Taylor's ruling was already publicly available.
"That a federal judge has to even strike down a government-run secret surveillance program targeting innocent U.S. citizens is astounding all by itself," says Mike Adams, a proponent of freedom and civil liberties. "If our government still abided by the U.S. Constitution and actually believed in genuine freedom, such a program never would have been pursued in the first place."