Attorneys for accused Chicago terrorism suspect Adel Daoud have filed a petition with the United States Supreme Court, asking for access to information which was presented to the secret Federal Intelligence Surveillance Court, as part of the investigation which eventually led to Daoud’s arrest.
The 20-year-old Daoud is accused of plotting to bomb a Loop tavern in 2012. Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman ruled last year that he could have access to certain sensitive FISA court information, but that ruling was quickly overturned by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
“The question takes on even more importance, in light of the vast expansion of the government’s surveillance activities since 2001,” Daoud’s petition states. “To the extent that criminal defendants are denied access to the materials that would allow them to challenge the lawfulness of this surveillance, the surveillance is shielded from judicial review, and effectively placed beyond the reach of the Constitution.”
The filing notes that until Judge Coleman granted Daoud access last year, no defendant had ever successfully been successful in seeking FISA documents.
“Since 1978, the Attorney General has filed an affidavit opposing disclosure in every case in which a defendant has sought disclosure,” the petition states. “Without access to FISA materials, it is difficult or impossible for defendants to determine which surveillance authorities were used against them.”