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No access to secret court records for Chicago bomb suspect

The Supreme Court will not consider giving a man accused of trying to ignite a bomb in downtown Chicago access to secret intelligence-court records.

The justices rejected the appeal of defendant Adel Daoud without comment Monday.

Daoud — accused of trying to blow up a pair of South Loop bars and of later plotting to have an FBI agent who set him up killed — had won a potentially groundbreaking trial court ruling that would have given his lawyers unprecedented access to records of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or FISA court.

But prosecutors appealed and argued that providing the material would endanger national security. And the federal appeals court in Chicago agreed with the government and reversed the trial court ruling in June last year.

Daoud’s case touched on the controversy over expanded U.S. phone and Internet spying set off by former government contractor Edward Snowden, and the FISA court’s role in signing off on the increased surveillance.

Daoud’s attorney, Thomas Durkin, has argued that he cannot properly defend Daoud without access to all of the evidence gathered against him, and has said the case demonstrates that a “two-tiered” justice system now operates in the U.S., with terror suspects denied basic rights that defendants in other cases can take for granted.

But ruling last year, the appeals court said there were “compelling reasons of national security” for keeping the documents secret.

Prosecutors were “truthful in advising the district judge that their being made public ‘would harm the national security of the United States,’ ” Judge Richard Posner wrote in his 34-page opinion for the three-judge panel that heard the case, an opinion the Supreme Court has now upheld.

Daoud, 20, of Hillside, was caught in an FBI sting when he pressed a button the feds say he believed would have blown up two bars in September 2012. Posner wrote last year that the plot might have killed hundreds had it succeeded.

Contributing: Associated Press

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