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In re Terrorist Bombings of U.S. Embassies in East Africa (Fourth Amendment Challenges)

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
552 F.3d 157 (2d Cir. 2008)


In 1996, American agents learned of al Qaeda’s presence in Kenya and identified five telephone numbers used by suspected al Qaeda associates. American officials monitored these lines, including two used by Wadih El-Hage (defendant), a U.S. citizen. After several months of close observation, the U.S. Attorney General authorized surveillance specifically targeting El-Hage, which was subsequently renewed twice. In cooperation with Kenyan officials, U.S. agents searched El-Hage’s home in Nairobi after they showed a document to El-Hage’s wife that was identified as a Kenyan warrant authorizing a search for stolen property. After the search, one of the Kenyan officers gave El-Hage’s wife a list of the items seized. El-Hage was not present during the search, and the agents did not apply for or obtain a warrant from a U.S. court. El-Hage was later charged in federal court, and moved to suppress the evidence based on the argument that it was illegally obtained. The district court denied his motion, and he was subsequently convicted of various charges resulting from his involvement in the 1998 bombings of the American Embassies in Africa. El-Hage appealed his conviction, claiming that the district court erred in denying his motion to suppress.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Cabranes, J.)

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