A federal appeals court has ruled the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of millions of Americans’ phone records is illegal. The program was exposed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden; the ACLU filed its lawsuit based largely on Snowden’s revelations. In a unanimous decision Thursday, a three judge panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York called the bulk phone records collection "unprecedented and unwarranted." The ruling comes as Congress faces a June 1st deadline to renew the part of the Patriot Act that authorizes the NSA’s bulk data surveillance. Another measure, the USA Freedom Act, would lead to limited reforms of some of the NSA’s programs. We are joined by Jameel Jaffer, Deputy Legal Director of the ACLU, which filed the case challenging the NSA’s bulk collection of American’s phone records.
The program was first exposed in 2013 by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. And the ACLU filed its lawsuit based largely on Snowden’s revelations. In a unanimous decision, Thursday, a three-judge panel, a second circuit court of appeals in New York, called the bulk phone records collection unprecedented and unwarranted. Judge Gerald Lynch wrote, "the government does not even suggest that all of the records sought or even necessarily any of them are relevant to any specific defined inquiry. In a concurring opinion, Judge Robert sack wrote, "considering the issue of advocacy in the context of deliberations involving alleged state secrets, and more broadly, the 'leak' by Edward Snowden that led to this litigation, calls to mind the disclosures by Daniel Ellsberg, that gave rise to the legendary 'Pentagon Papers' litigation."
The ruling class once again shifts the legal framework of a state apparatus around an emergingly irreconcilable political position. No one seems to want to confront the fact that the government has developed these frameworks clandestinely and will maintain them clandestinely.
Apparently catching a murderer in the act of a murder is not enough evidence to warrant real action in the minds most of fellow workers. Or is it?