Only last week, the White House Panel constituted to investigate the NSA wiretaps has given a report which found no link between the NSA’s surveillance program and decrease in terror threats. In fact the Panel members had panned NSA for the illegal wiretaps (now legal) and recommended that the massive collection of phone records be stopped immediately to protect Americans’ privacy. They issued this recommendation upon finding that it was “not essential in preventing attacks.”
Surely today’s US federal court judge ruling comes as a manna from heavens for the beleaguered NSA top honchos (James Clapper and co) who were looking for places to hide after the panel recommendations. This ruling in favour of the National Security Agency comes courtesy of US District Judge William Pauley, who decided in favour of the NSA just hours earlier, in a case filed in June, after the Snowden leaks, by the American Civil Liberties Union against Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.
“There is no evidence that the government has used any of the bulk telephony metadata it collected for any purpose other than investigating and disrupting terrorist attacks.”
“Because the NSA’s aggregation of metadata constitutes an invasion of privacy and an unreasonable search, it is unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment. The call-tracking program also violates the First Amendment, because it vacuums up sensitive information about associational and expressive activity.”
“Because the government can use daily metadata collection to engage in ‘repetitive, surreptitious surveillance of a citizen’s private goings on,’ the NSA database ‘implicated the Fourth Amendment each time a government official monitors it”
“Whether the Fourth Amendment protects bulk telephony metadata is ultimately a question of reasonableness.”
“represents the government’s counterpunch to al-Qaeda. The government learned from its mistake and adapted to confront a new enemy: a terror network capable of orchestrating attacks across the world. It launched a number of counter-measures, including a bulk telephony metadata collection program — a wide net that could find and isolate gossamer contacts among suspected terrorists in an ocean of seemingly disconnected data,’’