The Bush administration has been ordered by a U.S. district judge to release documents relating to its warrantless wiretapping program.
Following the September 11th 2001 attacks, the government gave the National Security Agency permission to engage in telephone surveillance of suspected terrorists without first obtaining a warrant.
Civil liberties groups have since filed a lawsuit against the NSA, Bush and other members of his administration related to the program.
On Friday, Judge Henry Kennedy said that the government must hand over the documents by November 17th, after which he will review them to determine whether they could be made public without endangering national security.
Commenting on the decision, the Electronic Privacy Information Center’s Marc Rotenberg told the Associated Press that the prospect of making the papers public was "a common sense matter."
"It’s an important decision because up to this point the judge has relied on the government’s assertion that it has done everything properly under the law and that it has disclosed everything it needs to disclose," he added.
Last month, the National Research Council released a report calling for the government to ensure it is takes measures to protect privacy and civil liberties before implementing any surveillance program.