Judges consolidate wiretap suits

A federal panel of judges consolidated 17 lawsuits against telcos accused of helping the White House monitor Americans' communications without warrants. The combined suit now targets AT&T, Verizon, BellSouth and their affiliates. The panel also ruled 26 other lawsuits with similar allegation may be lumped in as well. Judge Vaughn Walker will preside over the suit, the same judge who rejected government assertions the AT&T case should be dropped because it would expose state secrets. Walker said the issue had been so widely reported there is little danger of disclosing state secrets. The case will remain halted pending appeal.

For more on the consolidated wiretap suit:
- see this AP article (WSJ sub. req.)