Judge Richard Leon says the NSA collection of Americans’ phone records likely violates the Constitution.

So now it’s official, Edward Snowden revealed unconstitutional activity by the US government. And so he has to hide out in Russia. We all deserve better than this, and thank goodness we still have a judiciary which isn’t afraid to tell the truth.

Snowden has been a whistle-blower all along and while I want us to be spying on the bad guys, what the NSA has been doing has been anything but. After all, the Fed does nothing about the Tsarnaev brothers after being given clear evidence they were terrorists and yet they need to collect every single email and phone call made by American citizens? It’s a combination of incompetence and hubris, and must stop.

And, of course, it took a conservative activist and the father of a Navy SEAL who died in Afghanistan to sue the government and Verizon in order to get this ruling. God bless them both.

Via Forbes.

Thanks to a leak of classified documents by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, we learned this summer that Verizon (and presumably other phone companies) were regularly handing over to the federal government metadata for all of their customers. Metadata being a fancy word for lists of all the phone calls made, which numbers were calling which numbers and how long those conversations lasted. While jaws were still on the floor regarding the scope of such collection, which would include hundreds of millions of people (including you, unless you don’t have a phone), two Verizon subscribers got to work drafting up a lawsuit. Larry Klayman, a conservative activist, and Charles Strange, father of a Navy SEAL who died in Afghanistan, sued the federal government as well as Verizon, saying that the phone company handing over their information to the feds was a violation of the U.S. Constitution and an “outrageous” breach of privacy. In a scathing opinion out of the District Court of D.C. Monday, federal judge Richard Leon agreed with them, saying the phone metadata collection program is “almost certainly” unconstitutional.

Calling the wholesale download of America’s phonecall activity “Orwellian,” Judge Leon writes that the NSA’s collection and querying efforts “likely violate the Fourth Amendment.” This is a huge deal. This is a classified program that has been in place for seven years that has been collecting information about most anyone with a phone, reviewed only by judges from a secret surveillance court. Brought into the open only because of documents leaked by Edward Snowden, a federal judge now says on an initial review that it is likely unconstitutional.

Do click through and read the whole thing.


Edward Snowden says judge’s ruling vindicates NSA surveillance disclosures

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5 Comments | Leave a comment
  1. Alain41 says:

    Regarding the tweet about the NSA official with reforms for the First Amendment. My reply is; GREAT, write those reforms out and we’ll introduce them to Congress to begin the Amendment to the Constitution process, just like all the other Amendment changes such as suffrage, abolishment of slavery, prohibition and repeal, and even the ERA (though that hasn’t passed, it was entered into the Amendment process and made it a good way through)).

  2. ConservativeSue says:

    Amen!! How else could the IRS find conservative groups/persons if they weren’t on Facebook, Twitter, or other internet sites to deny them 501c3 or 501c4 status before the 2012 election? How else could information be tracked on short notice?

  3. strider says:

    Would like to hear from the NSA in detail how they were able to do nothing to protect Boston from the bombing this year. Otherwise convert it to a public data farm, say with the library of congress available for free downloads for a start. Also maybe some educational courses.

  4. JHSII says:

    What is this “Constitution” thing I hear so much about????

    It’s not like the current regime in Washington would know…

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