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Feds: Traditional probe used in Ill. terror case

Published: Thursday, June 13, 2013 1:46 p.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, June 13, 2013 1:47 p.m. CDT
This undated photo provided by the U.S. Marshal's office shows Adel Daoud, of Hillside, Ill. Daoud is charged with terrorism for allegedly trying to set off what he thought was a car bomb Sept. 14, 2012, near a downtown Chicago bar. In a filing in U.S. District Court late Wednesday, June 12, 2013, in Chicago, the government denied a defense contention that prosecutors may have used a 2008 amendment expanding the scope of a foreign intelligent law to charge the 19-year-old Daoud. The government filing says investigators relied on pre-2008 provisions. He remains jailed in Chicago awaiting trial, which is set for Feb. 3. (AP Photo/U.S. Marshal's office)

CHICAGO – Prosecutors haven't denied that an expanded U.S. phone and internet surveillance program triggered an investigation that led to terrorism charges against a Chicago-area teenager, a defense attorney said Thursday.

Thomas Durkin told a federal judge that he needs to know how the government compiled evidence against Adel Daoud, resulting in charges that he tried to set off what he thought was a car bomb next to a Chicago bar.

In a late Wednesday filing in U.S. District Court in Chicago, prosecutors indicated that the evidence against the 19-year-old U.S. citizen was gathered using traditional methods, though they offered no details.

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Chicago, Randall Samborn, declined to comment on the filing.

The vastly expanded surveillance program, revealed in a leak by a former CIA employee last week, has stirred debate over personal privacy rights versus national security needs.

But Durkin said the language of the filing suggests that the expanded spying program may have triggered an initial investigation into Daoud. He said he would continue to press for more clarity from the government.

"We're not done on this," he said Thursday, adding that the judge overseeing the case would have to rule at some point on the defense request for more detail.

Durkin has said authorities may have singled out Daoud only after surveillance data indicated he viewed the online Inspire magazine, produced by al-Qaida affiliates. Daoud has claimed he viewed the material as part of work on a high-school term paper.

If he learns the surveillance program kick-started an investigation, Durkin has said he could ask a higher court — possibly the U.S. Supreme Court — to have the case thrown out on constitutional grounds.

"Anyone who is concerned with civil liberties in this country should want the Supreme Court to visit (the expanded surveillance program) and rule on its the constitutionality," he said earlier this week.

Daoud, of Hillside, was arrested last year in what authorities described as an FBI sting, during which they said the public was never in danger. Daoud has pleaded not guilty and remains jailed in Chicago as he awaits trial, which is set to begin Feb. 3.

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