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‘The NSA Is Out of Control’: Legislative Momentum Expected After Ruling Against Data Collection

Carney, though, says Obama just got the internal review he asked for on intelligence gathering and will study "its more than 40 recommendations."

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

December 16, 2013 - 6:17 pm
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WASHINGTON — A federal judge’s ruling on the Obama administration’s “Orwellian” mass collection of data through the NSA put wind in the sails of a handful of lawmakers who came down the hardest on the White House in the wake of former contractor Edward Snowden’s revelations.

That, coupled with the promise that there are still surprises to come from the Snowden stash, could revive privacy legislation in the new year.

D.C. District Court Judge Richard Leon, appointed to the bench by George W. Bush, ruled that the bulk collection of telephone metadata most likely violated the Fourth Amendment and should be stopped along with the destruction of metadata currently in the government’s possession, but he stayed his ruling to give the case time to work up to the D.C. Circuit.

“In doing so, I hereby give the Government fair notice that should my ruling be upheld, this order will go into effect forthwith,” he wrote.

“I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘abitrary invasion’ than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval,” Leon wrote, adding that “the Government does not cite a single instance in which analysis of the NSA’s bulk metadata collection actually stopped an imminent attack, or otherwise aided the Government in achieving any objective that was time-sensitive in nature.”

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said the ruling “hits the nail on the head.”

“It makes clear that bulk phone records collection is intrusive digital surveillance and not simply inoffensive data collection as some have said. The court noted that this metadata can be used for ‘repetitive, surreptitious surveillance of a citizen’s private goings on,’ that creates a mosaic of personal information and is likely unconstitutional,” Wyden said. “This ruling dismisses the use of an outdated Supreme Court decision affecting rotary phones as a defense for the technologically advanced collection of millions of Americans’ records. It clearly underscores the need to adopt meaningful surveillance reforms that prohibit the bulk collection of Americans’ records.”

Wyden, Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) introduced the Intelligence Oversight and Surveillance Reform Act in September to prohibit the bulk collection of records and institute new transparency reforms at the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court.

“Significantly, the judge also noted that he had ‘serious doubts about the efficacy of the program.’ The reason that he and many others have these doubts is that the executive branch’s claims about this program’s effectiveness are now crumbling under public scrutiny,” Wyden continued. “Protecting the country from terrorism is obviously vitally important but the government can do this without collecting the phone records of massive numbers of law-abiding men, women and children.”

Paul lauded the judge for “upholding and protecting our Fourth Amendment rights.”

“This decision represents an important first step in having the constitutionality of government surveillance programs decided in the regular court system rather than a secret court where only one side is presented,” Paul said. “In June, I introduced the Fourth Amendment Restoration Act which, if enacted, would have restored our Constitutional rights and declared that the Fourth Amendment shall not be construed to allow any agency of the United States government to search the phone records of Americans without a warrant based on probable cause.”

“The NSA phone surveillance program is a blatant abuse of power and an invasion of our privacy,” he added. “This ruling reminds the Federal government that it is not above the law. I will continue to fight against the violations of Americans’ constitutional rights through illegal phone surveillance until it is stopped once and for all.”

The alliance of the core senators involved in this push is rooted in their shared privacy advocacy beliefs. Wyden was the only Democrat to stand and assist Paul during his 13-hour talking filibuster over domestic drone use.

Udall, who joined with Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) to introduce a bicameral surveillance reform package modeled on the September bill with Paul, Wyden and Blumenthal, said the ruling confirms “the bulk collection of Americans’ phone records conflicts with Americans’ privacy rights under the U.S. Constitution and has failed to make us safer.”

“This court ruling only underscores the urgent need for Congress to act and pass my bipartisan bill to ensure the NSA focuses on terrorists and spies — and not innocent Americans,” he said.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Happy for this decision, but mark my words...some other court will overturn it or the gov't will just ignore the decision.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
I've maintained for a very long time that although the government has shown the ability to collect the data they've not figured out how to 'put it all together' in a coherent manner - at least for now. The O'Care debut has shown their ineptness with computers. If you believe it wasn't supposed to happen the way that did. Get some IRS data and match it up to political 'enemies' - health care records thrown in for good effect and stand back and massage the data for patterns. Trace those patterns to individuals and those they collaborate with. What the hell do you think the IRS scandal was all about? Suppression! And it is still continuing to this day. Haven't heard much about it? You won't if O'Zero has his way - and so far he has.

When the government is able to match our on-line identities to our real-life identities to people we talk to then they'll really have something to work with.

Why do you think O'Zero can get away with targeting enemies - real Americans - and he points the finger at conservatives and tells his supporters 'they are the enemy'? Its all about conditioning.

Its 1936 Germany folks. I can't get more clearer than that! I'm just waiting for the news that the Reichstag is on fire.


31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obama and Reid better hurry up and stack the DC circuit with judges who hate the Constitution as much as they do and want dictatorship as much as the Marxist left does.

Then again, Obama/Reid/Pelosi don't care very much what the other two branches say...they have no interest in following any ruling, law, rule, regulation that gets in the way of their tyranny and treason.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (22)
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my buddy's sister makes $86 an hour on the internet. She has been out of a job for 7 months but last month her paycheck was $16465 just working on the internet for a few hours. check it out,,,,,,,,WWW.Works23.us
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
As I try to get my kids to pay attention to what is going on around them I found a great tool- the Hunger Games movies!

Here is my post. Bottom line, they don't roll their eyes anymore when I point out the abuses. They can't get the NSA, but they can get the zero privacy and President Snow of Panem. If we are to seize the future, we need to capture the hearts of the next generation.


http://truthandcommonsense.com/2013/12/18/your-kids-the-next-generation-and-the-wonder-and-importance-of-the-hunger-games-movies/
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
It is too late unless there is an even more restrictive law passed by congress.
Every electronic device can be tracked in real time by GPS, or just tracked by satellite and RF tags/chips. These items are not limited in the least. Shirts, toys, iPods, Walkmans, radios, speakers, lamps, label makers, guns, cars, damn near anything can have an RF chip.
Wal-Mart matches up your toy purchase to your Cr Card #, finds the toy resides in Ohio with other tags your nephew "Tommy" has in his bedroom.... and BOOM! Your Google and amazon accounts start displaying ads to you in Texas for toys for Tommy in Ohio.
Your "pattern of life" is already mapped out people. This stuff needs to be rolled back big time. This is not a conspiracy, it is a marketing agenda by big business - it has just gone too far.
Allegedly the US Government is not allowed to get all this info all together, but I bet the NSA can just take it at will. Google turns over the data, but NSA already has a sieve in the internet stream to syphon off what ever they want, or take it out of mid-air.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
My God. *Good* news? I am honestly, sincerely staggered.

Now. What about the metadata they collect on our Internet activity?
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
momentum from which lawmakers exactly? There is a huge wing of the GOP that loves the surveillance state, and an equally huge wing of the Dems torn between not wanting to be painted as weak vs. terror and not wanting to reduce the power of this executive. Leaving the rest of us screwed.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
" There is a huge wing of the GOP that loves the surveillance state"
What "wing" is that?
There is a huge wing of dems too! There is a huge wing of America that still thinks the government is looking out for us - you know how that goes.

We all think surveilence is necessary since the government won't crack down on muslims. It is to what extent we want them to go that varies wildly in every political stripe. This is truly bi-partisan.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
This was all set up to "protect" America. Sounds reasonable to most on the face of it at first...until it becomes clear that given how many times this powerful apparatus fails, that it is merely set up and being used to suppress opposition to the most corrupt and lawless administration in U.S. history.

What we need most to protect America is not stealth bombers, drones, or supercomputers. Those things may be important, but are useless tools in a country that doesn't remember what the heck it is about. What we need most of all is to re-discover and BELIEVE in, and be willing to STAND UP FOR, what America has traditionally represented.

That is why, for example, despite his flaws as an individual, I admire someone like Glenn Beck so much. He devotes so much effort to getting this word out. Perhaps someday he'll get the respect he deserives.

Some of my Evangelical friends suspect Obama of being the Anti-Christ, but being Jewish myself, I don't hold with that concept. But if I did, I'd imagine that there'd have to be quite a problem in the HR department of Hell if that is the best they could do for an 'Anti-Christ'.

I coined my own term for Obama long ago: the "Anti-Patriot". He is the first-ever president who HATES America. That is the bottom line. One could go into a great deal of detail on this, but that is what it all comes down to. It explains all that he does. So, how did a person who hates his own country get to lead it? This has got to be an historically unprecedented phenomenon.

The immediate answer is our corrupt media, who deliberately obscured what he really was. But we should have seen through this anyway. Most of us in this forum clearly did, even though we were exposed to the same media as everyone else. Obama weasled his way under the radar because of a voting public who couldn't comprehend what Obama 'hated'...because they didn't even understand it themselves. A culturally/historically illiterate population was naturally completely blind to what Obama really was.

The media has to be reformed somehow. I don't know how, only that it needs to happen if there is to be any hope in the near term. Ultimately, we as a people have to re-discover and re-commit to what we are supposed to be as a country, the United States of America. If we don't do that, there is no hope for the long term, either.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
I turn 66 on Sunday, and have followed politics since my youth, Eisenhower was my 1st President to follow. Nevertheless, I've also studied history and I can say that there has never been a more corrupt and lawless administration than the Obama administration. This administration and its political party has turned America into a 3d world Leftist Dictatorship. This spying is far more dangerous than some people think. By their actions you can easily see the Democrats (Communists) trying to snuff out all political opposition and turn the country into one party rule, central command and control of everything. Total tyranny.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
I turn 55 in less than two weeks. Like you, I study and follow politics. Eisenhower was President when I was born. I remember the day John F. Kennedy was shot and killed. you are not kidding how corrupt and lawless our government is now. To call the Democrats Communist is 100% correct. The question is how do we get the government out of our schools, our homes, and our communities. Stay tuned my friend! The answer is coming and I guarantee it will make you smile. Thank you for being a true American. We may be older but we're not out of the game. God Bless You!
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Happy Birthday :)

I can't ever recall feeling this level of paranoia and negativity towards the national government. (national seems more accurate than federal to describe)
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
An odd collection of bedfellows on this one, spanning the ideological spectrum.

Signs of intelligent life in the universe.

Some interference in his email seen by the attorney who brought the case.

http://www.wnd.com/2013/12/stunning-revelation-from-man-who-sued-nsa/
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
That is the same article, different writer - what's up?
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
"the NSA is out of control and operating in an unconstitutional manner" No the President is out of control and operating in an unconstitutional manner.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
They're BOTH operating in an unconstitutional manner.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Happy for this decision, but mark my words...some other court will overturn it or the gov't will just ignore the decision.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
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