NSA mass phone surveillance is ‘lawful’, US federal judge rules
Decision comes just weeks after another judge said government’s data collection programme was probably ‘not constitutional’
The NSA’s programme of mass phone data collection is “controversial but lawful”, according to a ruling from a federal judge in the US.
Ruling in the case brought against the government by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), US District Judge William H Pauley III issued a 53-page court opinion declaring the surveillance is a “counter-punch” to terrorism.
Judge Pauley’s ruling yesterday comes just weeks after fellow US District Judge Richard Leon said that wide scale phone tapping was “likely not constitutional”, violating a ban on unreasonable search.
“The question for this court is whether the government's bulk telephony metadata program is lawful,” wrote Judge Pauley. “This court finds it is.”
Given the conflict on the issue within the courts, ACLU lawyers said they would be taking their case to an appeal in Manhattan. “This mass call tracking program constitutes a serious threat to Americans' privacy and we think Judge Pauley is wrong in concluding otherwise,” said Brett Max Kaufman, an attorney with the ACLU's National Security Project.
Explaining his decision, Judge Pauley said the 9/11 terrorist attacks showed the government could not afford to miss any threat.
“This blunt tool only works because it collects everything,” the judge said. “The collection is broad, but the scope of counterterrorism investigations is unprecedented.”
Judge Pauley nonetheless accepted that such a programme, if unchecked, “imperils the civil liberties of every citizen” and said he was aware of debate surrounding the subject across the nation, in Congress and at the White House.
The ACLU sued the government earlier this year in the wake of security leaks from the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, and Judge Pauley said that the source of the revelations played a part in his decision.
“It cannot possibly be that lawbreaking conduct by a government contractor that reveals state secrets — including the means and methods of intelligence gathering — could frustrate Congress's intent. To hold otherwise would spawn mischief,” he said.
- 1 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Boris Johnson claims porn-obsessed Islamic jihadists are 'literally w*****s'
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Putin opponent reveals Russian President's daughter's secret identity
Ball pool for adults opens in London
Gay couple buy JebBushForPresident.com web domain, and refuse to sell
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
King Abdullah dead: We can't afford not to hold Saudi Arabia's royals to account
£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...
Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - HIGHEST QUALITY INTERNATIONAL FIRM - A...
Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - EXCELLENT FIRM - We have an outstandin...
Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: IN-HOUSE - NATIONAL CHARITY - An exciting and...