Attorney Larry Klayman, who won a court judgment that the National Security Agency’s spy-on-Americans program likely is unconstitutional and should be halted, now is asking the judge to question a witness in secret.
Klayman wants the judge to interview Dennis Montgomery, who can testify “about the unconstitutional and illegal surveillance conducted by the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency that is highly relevant and of crucial important … as he worked closely with these agencies following the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001.”
It’s the Dennis Montgomery who was alleged in a book by New York Times reporter James Risen, “Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War,” to be a fraud and who has sued Risen for defamation over the charge.
A new court filing explains Montgomery worked with top-level government agencies and individuals, knows a great deal about the spying programs and even has tried to blow the whistle, prompting federal bureaucrats and agencies to try to discredit him.
The case by Montgomery against Risen alleges that someone at the highest level leaked information to Risen about what Montgomery did while working with the CIA and NSA, providing ammunition for the attacks.
The private interview – judge and witness only – is requested because, Klayman explains in the court filing with the U.S. District Court in Washington, Montgomery had access to highly classified material. Klayman further notes that while the judge is authorized to hear classified material, the attorneys involved do not necessarily have that clearance.
Klayman, founder of FreedomWatch, says in the filing that Montgomery can talk about how “the records of judicial, congressional, and executive government officials” were “harvested.”
“Indeed, this is confirmed in no small part by Sen. [Dianne] Feinstein, previously the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who revealed that the CIA had illegally harvested emails and other information of her and her staff,” the filing explains.
The court’s private interview of Montgomery also is needed to take control and implement appropriate protective measures to make certain his testimony is available to “prevent witness tampering and obstruction of justice” and protect his life and the lives of his family members, the brief argues.
“The court must respectfully take whatever actions are within the powers of the federal court to protect this witness and to reassure him to come forward and testify against the weight of the intimidation and threats to the contrary,” Klayman writes.
WND has reported extensively on Klayman’s case against the NSA, including late in 2014 when he submitted a brief to an appeals court warning the justices not to trust what the government says.
“It is clear that this court should not believe anything that the government appellants-cross-appellees say,” wrote Klayman in a brief submitted to the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
“They are holding all of the cards and pretending as though they have safeguarded the rights of Americans when in fact every time there is a leak of information the exact opposition has been shown to be true,” he wrote.
Klayman sued the NSA over the collection of telephone metadata from Verizon customers that was detailed in documents released by intelligence-document leaker Edward Snowden. In December 2013, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon ruled the NSA program likely is unconstitutional and ordered the government to stop collecting data on the two plaintiffs. He stayed his injunction, however, “in light of the significant national security interests at stake in this case and the novelty of the constitutional issues.”
Klayman, a columnist for WND, prepared a supplemental brief following a court hearing in November. He filed it with the court along with a “motion for leave to file,” which responds to questions that couldn’t be fully addressed in court due to lack of time.
The three judges who heard arguments, the Associated Press reported, expressed “uncertainty about where to draw the line between legal surveillance and violations of constitutional rights.”
At issue are orders for the FBI from the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court telling telephone companies to give the government “metadata,” details about telephone traffic, such as the numbers dialed.
WND has reported on the case since it developed, including when two privacy-rights heavyweights, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, weighed in on Klayman’s side.
The new brief argues Montgomery “attempted to alert appropriate government authorities that surveillance goes beyond what whistleblower Edward Snowden disclosed.”
Klayman argues: “Montgomery is in poor health. He suffered a brain aneurysm and a related multi-infarct stroke on May 12, 2014. He suffered both a hemorrhagic stroke (caused by ruptured blood vessels that cause brain bleeding) and ischemic stroke (loss of blood flow).”
He survived, but “could suffer a similar or repeated event causing him to die at any time.”
Klayman charges that the defendants are harassing him and possibly could trigger a fatal attack.
The filing alleges that Montgomery worked with software that could identify messages and images from video, and provided information to the NSA and CIA. He is not a “public figure” but is coming forward now because of the attacks by Risen in his book.
“In sum, Montgomery had endured repeated raids on his home and business files. He had to go to court to get his property back. Although it has cost him enormous sums in attorneys’ fees, he has been successful in prevailing against the government agencies which abused him. … He has been persecuted and misrepresented about the slightest imperfection in his personal life,” Klayman wrote.
Klayman’s victory over the NSA now is on appeal to the U.S. District Court of Appeals in Washington.