The Obama administration filed an emergency request with a federal appeals court Friday to stop a judge in San Francisco from allowing lawyers challenging the government's wiretapping program to see a classified surveillance document.
The document is the central evidence in the last remaining lawsuit over the legality of former President George W. Bush's 2001 order for the National Security Administration to intercept phone calls and e-mails between Americans and suspected terrorists in other nations.
And more from CQ's Legal Beat:
The Justice Department has filed an emergency stay motion at the 9th Circuit, asking it to freeze a district judge's order in a lawsuit challenging the legality of President Bush's warrantless surveillance program.
"Disclosure of the material at issue here would cause exceptionally grave harm to the national security and result in irreparable injury to the United States," Justice Department lawyers wrote in their brief. The Obama administration's stance is all the more striking because the immediate question is whether the plaintiffs in the case can have access to classified material they have already seen.