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Montevideo, September 19th 2018 - 01:36 UTC

One for the White House: NSA program keeping phone call records is 'lawful'

Sunday, December 29th 2013 - 08:24 UTC
Full article 17 comments
Judge William Pauley: 'a counter punch' to terrorism Judge William Pauley: 'a counter punch' to terrorism

A federal judge ruled that a National Security Agency program that collects records of millions of Americans' phone calls is lawful, calling it a “counter-punch” to terrorism that does not violate Americans' privacy rights.

 Last week's decision by US District Judge William Pauley in Manhattan diverged from a ruling by another judge this month that questioned the program's constitutionality, raising the prospect that the Supreme Court will need to resolve the issue.

In a 54-page decision, Pauley dismissed an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit contending that the NSA collection of “bulk telephony metadata” violated the bar against warrantless searches under the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution.

The judge also referred often to the September 11, 2001 attacks, in which nearly 3,000 people died, and said broad counter-terrorism programs such as the NSA's could help avoid a “horrific” repeat of those events.

Pauley ruled 11 days after US District Judge Richard Leon in Washington, DC said the “almost Orwellian” NSA program amounted to an “indiscriminate and arbitrary invasion” that was likely unconstitutional.

Leon also ordered the government to stop collecting call data on the two plaintiffs in that case, but suspended that portion of his decision so the government could appeal.

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  • ChrisR

    “In a 54-page decision, Pauley dismissed an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit contending that the NSA collection of “bulk telephony metadata” violated the bar against warrantless searches under the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution.”

    It took him 54 pages to strike down the 4th amendment.

    I think we may be looking at the next member of the SCOTUS.

    Dec 29th, 2013 - 10:26 am 0
  • GeoffWard2

    *Of course* this Leon judgement breaks the Constitution.
    Leon is indulging in Orwellian DoubleSpeak.
    This is only important if the people of the USA still hold any value in the Constitution - if they believe that it has outlived its time then it matters not one jot if it is broken every day and in every way.

    If the believe they should have a constitution but the present one is redundant in contemporary society - then don't just fiddle with new amendments, write a new one.

    But one thing's for sure: 'we spy here and everywhere else because we have the technology' is no way to run a country ... and to say we do it 'in the defence of the people' is just so disingenuous.

    It is akin to saying
    'we saw a dog pee without permission in Central Park, so now all dogs everywhere must wear GPS trackers so we know which one to prosecute. We do this to defend you, the US People and the American Way Of Life'

    Dec 29th, 2013 - 01:27 pm 0
  • Conqueror

    Whilst I sort of understand the points being made, should we not consider that killing 2,977 innocent people and injuring more than 6,000 others is a “circumstance” that justifies “appropriate” measures? There might also be the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to take into account.
    Besides, one way that courts enforce the Fourth Amendment is by excluding evidence obtained through its violation. But I doubt that the NSA actually intends to prosecute anyone. More a case of identifying potential suspects.

    Dec 29th, 2013 - 02:16 pm 0
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