'Christmas tree bomber' seeks NSA documents

Tuesday 14 January 2014 21.28
Mohamed Osman Mohamud was ensnared, his attorneys say, in an FBI sting.
Mohamed Osman Mohamud was ensnared, his attorneys say, in an FBI sting.

For the first time in the United States, a man convicted on terror charges has asked authorities for documents obtained by the National Security Agency to try to reverse his conviction, a document obtained today showed.

Mohamed Osman Mohamud was convicted last year of trying to use a weapon of mass destruction at a Christmas tree lighting in Oregon in 2010.

The former student was ensnared, his attorneys say, in an FBI sting.

It later emerged police used information collected by the NSA in its massive cyber-snooping operation.

Mohamud was not informed of the snooping, they added.

"The record reflects that government actors failed to adequately communicate discoverable material to local prosecutors," argued his lawyers in an appeal filed in Portland, Oregon.

Mohamud asked the "Court for an order requiring full discovery regarding the facts and circumstances underlying surveillance as elaborated in the supporting memorandum filed contemporaneously with this motion.

"The full circumstances behind the government's violation of the notice statute are relevant to forthcoming defense motions regarding remedy, suppression and new trial," the lawyers stressed.

Mass cyber-snooping by the NSA on phone metadata and the emails of enemies and allies alike has triggered a fierce debate over the extent and scope of intelligence gathering efforts.

US President Barack Obama will unveil reforms to the country's spying activities on 17 January. 

Mr Obama says revelations over the program by fugitive leaker Edward Snowden have undermined public confidence in the work of the US intelligence community and reforms are needed.