2013 December 16

Judge Rules NSA Spying Program Unconstitutional


In Klayman v. Obama, a U.S. District Court Judge in Washington, DC, on this day ruled that spying on Americans by the National Security Agency (NSA) was unconstitutional.  As if by some weird coincidence, the decision came exactly eight years after the New York Times exposed illegal NSA spying by the administration of President George W. Bush (see December 16,  2005). The decision on this day came in the midst of an enormous scandal resulting from the exposure of massive and illegal spying by the NSA based on documents stolen and leaked by former NSA contract employee Edward Snowden. See June 5, 2013 for the first of the Snowden-related stories. But in a separate case later in December 2013, ACLU v. Clapper, a District Court Judge ruled the NSA collection of metadata to be constitutional. The conflicting rulings were undoubtedly headed to the Supreme Court for a resolution.

On April 14, 2014, The 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service was awarded to the Guardian US and the Washington Post for their stories on National Security Agency (NSA) spying based on documents leaked to them by Edward Snowden. On February 16, 2014, the reporters also won the prestigious George Polk Award for their reporting based on the Snowden-released documents.

The Judge: “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 and analyzing it without prior judicial approval … Surely, such a program infringes on ‘that degree of privacy’ that the founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment.

Read the full decisionhttp://legaltimes.typepad.com/files/obamansa.pdf

Get the full story of the Snowden documents on the NSA: Luke Harding, The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man (2014)

Read the best book on President Obama and the war on terrorism: Charlie Savage, Power Wars: Inside Obama’s Post-9/11 Presidency (2015)

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