U.S. federal Judge: NSA phone surveillance program likely violates Fourth Amendment of U.S. Constitution

“A federal judge ruled Monday that the National Security Agency program which collects information on nearly all telephone calls made to, from or within the United States is likely to be unconstitutional,” Josh Gerstein reports for Politico. “U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon found that the program appears to violate the Fourth Amendment prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures. He also said the Justice Department had failed to demonstrate that collecting the so-called metadata had helped to head off terrorist attacks.”

“Acting on a lawsuit brought by conservative legal activist Larry Klayman, Leon issued a preliminary injunction barring the NSA from collecting metadata pertaining to the Verizon accounts of Klayman and one of his clients. However, the judge stayed the order to allow for an appeal,” Gerstein reports. “‘I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary invasion’ than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying it and analyzing it without judicial approval,’ wrote Leon, an appointee of President George W. Bush.”

“The judge’s ruling was issued just before White House press secretary Jay Carney took the podium for the daily press briefing. Carney said he was unaware of the decision and he referred inquiries to the Justice Department,” Gerstein reports. “‘We are reviewing the court’s decision,’ DOJ spokesman Andrew Ames said.
Similar lawsuits challenging the program are pending in at least three other federal courts around the country.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: United States Constitution, Amendment IV:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

Visit reformgovernmentsurveillance.com today.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “theloniousMac” for the heads up.]

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29 Comments

    1. The rest of his language was a bit stronger : )

      “I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary invasion’ than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying it and analyzing it without judicial approval”

      – U.S. District Judge Richard Leon

  1. The perspectives of judges nowadays are no more rational than market analysts. Can’t really rely on…

    Just hope that this judge is one of the few with a spine.

      1. This started under Dubya’s watch. I do not dispute Obama has put the program on steroids, but Bush was doing this and both should have a day in court over this.

  2. 60 minutes had a segment last night were many of the press versions of the process were shown to be false and they demonstrated how the system works. If need be, it is apparent that they could automate it further to eliminate user access to everything except the foreign connections to citizens that can be presented to courts for further scrutiny.

    1. It’s scary that a person like you would see that 60 Minutes report and walk away with the impression that the press reports were false. That’s what the NSA wanted you to think.

      You have to parse the language very carefully. Nothing in the 60 Minutes story refuted what we’ve been reading in the press for the last 6 months. Nothing.

      Just a few of the issues:

      http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/16/nsa-surveillance-60-minutes-cbs-facts

      But the biggest issue is that 60 Minutes didn’t challenge anything said by the NSA. Last night you’d think everything was lawful and above-board.

      Today a Federal Judge said that the phone records program was ineffective and unlawful. He said the “The almost-Orwellian technology” is “almost certainly” unconstitutional.

    1. Hey Federal Judge Dumbass, leave off the first two words of your name and it would be much more accurate.

      BTW, who is sending you a government check to troll websites like MDN and spew the government’s propaganda?

    2. Federal Judge Dumbass, another one who hasn’t figured this quote out yet:

      “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best black man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him someone to look down on and he’ll empty his pockets for you. — Lyndon Johnson

      And it works like this too:

      “If you can convince the common man that he’s in mortal danger, he won’t notice you’re taking away his rights. Hell, give him someone to be afraid of and he’ll build his own jail cell for you.” — Zeke

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