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Deputy U.S. Attorney General James Cole (L-R), National Security Agency (NSA) Deputy Director John Inglis, NSA Director U.S. Army General Keith Alexander, FBI Deputy Director Sean Joyce and Office of the Director of National Intelligence General Counsel R
Would these guys break the law?
A federal judge has ruled that the National Security Agency's program of bulk collection of phone record metadata likely violates the Fourth Amendment and is unconstitutional.
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon found that the program appears to run afoul of 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. [...]

“Plaintiffs have a very significant expectation of privacy in an aggregated collection of their telephone metadata covering the last five years, and the NSA’s Bulk Telephony Metadata Program significantly intrudes on that expectation,” wrote Leon, an appointee of President George W. Bush. “I have significant doubts about the efficacy of the metadata collection program as a means of conducting time-sensitive investigations in cases involving imminent threats of terrorism.”

“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,” Leon added.

The suit was brought by legal activist and Judicial Watch founder Larry Klayman. Judge Leon stayed this ruling pending a likely appeal by the government, so it doesn't have an immediate effect. The ACLU has a similar case now pending through the courts in New York. One of these two cases will likely end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 11:38 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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