Thursday, May 25, 2006, 5/25/2006 08:28:00 AM

Can Trade Secrets Claims Trump All Others?

In the death match in California federal between the Electronic Frontier Foundation and AT&T concerning NSA wiretapping, AT&T is trying to use claims about its trade secrets to essentially shut down the case. At least that's the take in HuffPost by Shayana Kadidal, a staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights.

The case arises out of the claims by a whistleblower at AT&T concerning a "secret room" near the switch in San Francisco where AT&T allegedly allowed the NSA to illegally tap the company's phone traffic through its fiber optic cables.

AT&T has been trying to keep the documents under seal arguing that they constitute its trade secrets. The issue became moot this week when Wired published the documents here. Wired said it consulted first with experts who confirmed to it that the documents were not trade secrets. The judge, also, was skeptical of AT&T's claims.

Next, watch to see the government seek to shut down the case by asserting the state secrets doctrine.

The case is a political hot potato and has the potential to embarrass AT&T, other phone companies, and the NSA.

Will trade secrets (or state secrets) claims bail out the defendants? So far, it appears the answer is no.

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