Local attorney sues president, FBI, others over alleged illegal web monitoring

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PITTSBURGH - A local attorney filed a federal lawsuit Monday against the president, the heads of the FBI and National Security Agency, and others, alleging the government is illegally monitoring his Internet communications, including email.

According to Channel 11’s news exchange partners at TribLIVE, Elliott Schuchardt filed the nine-page complaint in U.S. District Court, claiming such a collection of data is unconstitutional without a warrant.

Schuchardt said the government is collecting data through Yahoo, Gmail, Facebook and other means, and storing information that includes bank account numbers, credit card numbers, health records, financial data and trade secrets.

Schuchardt wrote that system set up by the defendants amounts to “turnkey totalitarianism.”

“If the defendants' conduct is not reined in promptly by the courts, the defendants will have the power to engage in widespread blackmail, and theft of significantly more than information,” he wrote.

Jenny Shearer, a spokeswoman for the FBI in Washington, D.C., said the agency does not comment on pending litigation.

Channel 11’s news exchange partners at TribLIVE contributed to this report.