A federal judge ruled Monday the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records “almost certainly” violates the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable searches.
U.S. District Judge Richard Leon described the NSA’s activities as “almost Orwellian.” He wrote, “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.”
Judge Leon was appointed to the bench by Republican President George W. Bush in 2002. Leon suspended enforcement of his injunction against the program pending an expected appeal by the government. The lawsuit was brought by conservative attorney Larry Klayman, the founder of Judicial Watch, and based on information leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. In a statement Monday, Snowden said, “I acted on my belief that the NSA’s mass surveillance programs would not withstand a constitutional challenge, and that the American public deserved a chance to see these issues determined by open courts.
Today, a secret program authorized by a secret court was, when exposed to the light of day, found to violate Americans’ rights. It is the first of many.” We are joined by Sascha Meinrath, director of the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute. He served as an expert witnesses on the Review Group on Intelligence and Communications, which was tasked by President Obama to review NSA’s activities.