In the United Kingdom on Monday, three men were convicted for organizing a plot to bomb several transcontinental flights. According to Britain’s Channel 4, the men were prosecuted in part using crucial e-mail correspondences intercepted by the U.S. National Security Agency.
Several of the emails have been reprinted by the BBC and other publications, and contain coded messages, according to prosecutors. The interception by the NSA occured n 2006 but were not included in evidence used in the first trial against the three last year in 2008.
The trial resulted in the men being convicted of conspiracy to commit murder; but a jury could not be convinced that they had planned to use soft drink bottles filled with liquid explosives to blow up seven trans-Atlantic planes — the charge for which they were convicted this week, in a second trial.
It is still unclear if the NSA intercepted the messages as they passed through internet nodes based in the U.S. or if they were intercepted overseas. If it happened in the US, it’s possible the interception was part of the Bush administration’s warrantless surveillance program. Interceptions like this were previously illegal, unless they’d been conducted with a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. After news stories revealed to the public that the NSA was conducting such surveillance without a warrant, Congress unsurprisingly legalized the collection activities when it passed the FISA Amendments Act. Courtesy of wired.com