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In an editorial appearing in the Saturday edition of their paper, the NY Times' editors weigh-in regarding Judge Pauley's ruling, today, which I covered in a post here this afternoon: "NY Times: 'N.S.A. Phone Surveillance Is Lawful, Federal Judge Rules.'"

This Week, Mass Surveillance Wins
By THE EDITORIAL BOARD
New York Times
December 28th, 2013 (Edition)

Has the National Security Agency’s mass collection of Americans’ phone records actually helped to prevent terrorist attacks?

No, according to the 300-page report issued this month by a panel of legal and intelligence experts appointed by President Obama.

Yet in a ruling issued on Friday, Judge William Pauley III of the Federal District Court in Manhattan came to the opposite conclusion. “The effectiveness of bulk telephony metadata collection cannot be seriously disputed,” Judge Pauley wrote in a deeply troubling decision dismissing a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union that challenged the constitutionality of the N.S.A.’s bulk data collection program...

The Times' Editors note: "Judge Pauley’s opinion largely disregards the concerns central to the presidential panel’s report and the ruling on Dec. 16 by a federal district judge in Washington, Richard Leon, who found that the agency’s program was 'significantly likely' to be unconstitutional."

Referring to the 1979 SCOTUS' Smith v. Maryland decision, "which held that a robbery suspect had no expectation of privacy — and no Fourth Amendment protection — in the telephone numbers he dialed," the Times' Editors reminded their readers that, just over a week ago, "Judge Leon found the Smith decision to be inapplicable to a daily, indiscriminate sweep of hundreds of millions of phone records. Judge Pauley, however, said its logic still applied."

...Judge Pauley’s opinion is perplexing in its near-total acceptance of the claim by the government that it almost always acts in accordance with the law and quickly self-corrects when it does not. For example, Judge Pauley said the N.S.A.’s director, Gen. Keith Alexander, was being “crystal clear” when he responded to charges that the agency was mining data from phone calls by saying: “We’re not authorized to do it. We aren’t doing it.”

That shows an alarming lack of skepticism, particularly in light of the testimony of James Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence, who falsely told the Senate Intelligence Committee in March that the N.S.A. was not collecting any type of data at all on hundreds of millions of Americans.

It is also incorrect to say, as Judge Pauley does, that there is “no evidence” that the government has used the phone data for anything other than terrorism investigations. An inspector general’s report in September revealed at least a dozen instances in which government employees used the databases for personal purposes...
...

...Court rulings will not suffice to rein in an agency that continues to take advantage of the law’s vague and malleable standards.

This afternoon's story (presented as a part of my post, from earlier today, and if you'd like to read all of it, it's linked HERE)...

N.S.A. Phone Surveillance Is Lawful, Federal Judge Rules
By MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT and ADAM LIPTAK
NY Times
December 27, 2013   1:32PM ET

WASHINGTON — A federal judge in New York on Friday ruled that the National Security Agency’s program that is systematically keeping phone records of all Americans is lawful, creating a conflict among lower courts and increasing the likelihood that the issue will be resolved by the Supreme Court...

The story continues on to inform readers, "Judge William H. Pauley III, of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, granted a motion filed by the federal government to dismiss a challenge to the program brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, which had tried to halt the program."

Judge Pauley specifically noted, "...that protections under the Fourth Amendment do not apply to records held by third parties, like phone companies."


...“This blunt tool only works because it collects everything,” Judge Pauley said in the ruling. “While robust discussions are underway across the nation, in Congress and at the White House, the question for this court is whether the government’s bulk telephony metadata program is lawful. This court finds it is,” he added.

A spokesman for the Justice Department said, “We are pleased the court found the N.S.A.'s bulk telephony metadata collection program to be lawful.” He declined to comment further.

Jameel Jaffer, the A.C.L.U. deputy legal director, said the group intended to appeal. “We are extremely disappointed with this decision, which misinterprets the relevant statutes, understates the privacy implications of the government’s surveillance and misapplies a narrow and outdated precedent to read away core constitutional protections,” he said...

(Bold type is diarist's emphasis.)

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Related court documents, courtesy of the A.C.L.U., may be found HERE: "ACLU v. Clapper - Order Granting Government's Motion to Dismiss and Denying ACLU Motion for Preliminary Injunction."

Here's the A.C.L.U.'s statement:

Judge Grants Motion to Dismiss in NSA Surveillance Case
December 27, 2013

ACLU Intends to Appeal Decision Allowing Telephone Tracking

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: media@aclu.org

NEW YORK – A federal court issued an opinion and order in ACLU v. Clapper, the ACLU’s challenge to the constitutionality of the NSA’s mass call-tracking program, ruling that the government’s bulk collection of phone records is lawful under Section 215 of the Patriot Act and under the Fourth Amendment. The court denied the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction and granted the government’s motion to dismiss the case. Judge Pauley’s ruling conflicts with last week’s ruling by a federal judge in Washington, D.C., that the mass call-tracking program violates the Fourth Amendment. The ACLU plans to appeal the ruling to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

The plaintiffs filed the lawsuit on June 11, 2013, less than a week after the mass call-tracking program was revealed by The Guardian newspaper based on documents obtained from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

“We are extremely disappointed with this decision, which misinterprets the relevant statutes, understates the privacy implications of the government’s surveillance and misapplies a narrow and outdated precedent to read away core constitutional protections,” said Jameel Jaffer, ACLU deputy legal director. “As another federal judge and the president’s own review group concluded last week, the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of telephony data constitutes a serious invasion of Americans’ privacy. We intend to appeal and look forward to making our case in the Second Circuit.”

The breaking NY Times' story continues on to mention the recent decision by Judge Leon...
...The ruling comes nearly two weeks after Judge Richard J. Leon of Federal District Court for the District of Columbia said the program most likely violated the Fourth Amendment. As part of that ruling, Judge Leon ordered the government to stop collecting data on two plaintiffs who brought the case against the government.

In his ruling, Judge Leon said that the program “infringes on ‘that degree of privacy’ that the founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment,” which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures...

The story reminds us that "...While Judge Leon ordered the government to stop collecting data on the two plaintiffs, he stayed the ruling, giving the government time to appeal the decision..."
Again, there's significantly more to my post from Friday afternoon, and you may read it all HERE.

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You may donate to the American Civil Liberties Union by clicking upon THIS LINK.


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