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ABA Asks NSA for Clarification on Attorney-Client Privilege

SURVEILLANCE—U.S.

February 24, 2014

After a report by The New York Times describing the alleged surveillance of a U.S. law firm and its clients by the National Security Agency (NSA) and its Australian counterpart, the president of the American Bar Association (ABA) has sent a letter to the NSA expressing concerns about the privacy of attorney-client privilege. ABA President James Silkenat has also asked for clarification on the NSA’s policies and practices concerning intercepted confidential data. “The attorney-client privilege is a bedrock legal principle of our free society and is important in both the civil and criminal contexts,” he wrote, adding, “It enables both individual and organizational clients to communicate with their lawyers in confidence, which is essential to preserving all clients’ fundamental rights to effective counsel.”
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