Christmas bomber case appeal challenges NSA surveillance

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Civil rights attorneys say surveillance evidence used to convict a Somali-American man who plotted to bomb a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony was unconstitutionally gathered through the U.S. government’s warrantless foreign surveillance program.

Mohamed Mohamud admits that he tried tried detonating a fake bomb in downtown Portland in 2010. He was convicted in 2013.

But he says he was entrapped by undercover federal agents posing as al-Qaida members who provided the fake bomb and spied on his electronic communications through the program.

It’s the first federal appeals challenge to the National Security Agency’s foreign surveillance program dealing with Fourth Amendment rights of criminal defendants

U.S. prosecutors defended the program in a federal appellate courtroom Wednesday, saying it allows information gathering without a warrant on Americans who communicate with foreigners whose names appear in NSA databases.

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This story has been corrected to show that the case is the first federal appeals challenge of the NSA’s foreign surveillance program dealing with Fourth Amendment rights of defendants, not the first challenge to the agency’s foreign surveillance program.

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