Judge Rules NSA Tactics Unconstitutional – For Now
A federal judge ruled Monday that the National Security Agency’s massive covert telephone records collection is unconstitutional, though even he expects the issue will ultimately be settled in the U.S. Supreme Court. Despite the ruling, and in anticipation of an appeal, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon decided to delay implementation of his own injunction against the NSA “in light of the significant national security interests at stake in this case and the novelty of the constitutional issues.”
The ruling comes in contradiction of the the fact that 15 judges on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court have examined Section 21 of the USA Patriot Act – the provision that addresses data collection issues – and found no constitutional problems. The case arrived on Judge Leon’s docket courtesy of two men who challenged the NSA tactic of collecting massive numbers of phone records on the off-chance that some might be needed one day in pursuit of criminal activity.
Judge Leon, who was appointed President George W. Bush, referred to the NSA policy as an unreasonable search under the protections of the Fourth Amendment. He further directed that the phone records for the plaintiffs should be destroyed. (Derek Dowell – VNN) (Image: Flickr | ElectronicFrontierFoundation)