NSA Phone Snooping Cannot Be Challenged in Court, Feds Say

Posted by on July 21, 2013 in Spying and Surveillance with 13 Comments
National Security Agency headquarters, Fort Meade, Maryland. Photo: Wikipedia

National Security Agency headquarters, Fort Meade, Maryland. Photo: Wikipedia

By David Kravets | WIRED.com

The Obama administration for the first time responded to a Spygate lawsuit, telling a federal judge the wholesale vacuuming up of all phone-call metadata in the United States is in the “public interest,” does not breach the constitutional rights of Americans and cannot be challenged in a court of law.

Thursday’s response marks the first time the administration has officially answered one of at least four lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of a secret U.S. snooping program the Guardian newspaper disclosed last month. The administration’s filing sets the stage for what is to be a lengthy legal odyssey — one likely to outlive the Obama presidency — that will define the privacy rights of Americans for years to come.

The New York federal district court lawsuit, brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, demands a federal judge immediately halt the spy program the civil rights group labeled as “one of the largest surveillance efforts ever launched by a democratic government.”

The Guardian last month posted a leaked copy of a top secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court opinion requiring Verizon Business to provide the National Security Agency the phone numbers of both parties involved in all calls, the International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) number for mobile callers, calling card numbers used in the call, and the time and duration of the calls.

The suit, brought on behalf of the ACLU’s employees, alleges breaches of the First Amendment and the Fourth Amendment and names Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, NSA Director Keith Alexander and FBI Director Robert Mueller, among others.

“… the alleged metadata program is fully consistent with the Fourth Amendment. Most fundamentally, the program does not involve “searches” of plaintiffs’ persons or effects, because the collection of telephony metadata from the business records of a third-party telephone service provider, without collecting the contents of plaintiffs’ communications, implicates no ‘legitimate expectation of privacy’ that is protected by the Constitution,” (.pdf) David S. Jones, an assistant United States attorney, wrote U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley in a Thursday filing.

Because the Fourth Amendment is not breached, it follows that the First Amendment is not violated either, Jones wrote.

Read the rest of the article….

 

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  1. fromete12@mail.com' Well Done Heading Toward Burnt Out says:

    Yes…the old and tired excuse of, “in the Public Interest” should be, “:Because the Public is NOT Interested” we can do anything we damn well please!

    Who’s kidding who? The Government is not by the People for the People. The People get to pay for the whole mess. The Government is by the bankers for the bankers. Call it what it is….for those of the last believers in what was once a free, human, and God fearing, country.

    Most people are even to lazy to post an opinion on this subject.

  2. norm322@yahoo.com' Norma says:

    OH, yes it can!

    The criminals are saying they can’t be stopped, eh?

    “Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact measure of the injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them.”
    Frederick Douglass

  3. chestofpizzacrust@sosbbs.com' RWB says:

    I for one want the gov., to monitor every communication if possible. I think anyone that is against safeguarding us from terrorists, both, home grown and foreign is a lunatic. This is a very dangerous era we live in, and we cannot go on wishing it was the 1970′s or so, anymore. If you have something to fear as far as having your communications listened too, then you should not be saying such info in the first place. Id much rather be safer than sorry.

    • uncle_meat@ca.rr.com' UncleMeat says:

      Then you shouldn’t have any complaints when they charge you with crimes based on the info they get from you. You thought you were abiding the laws. Well, they have a different opinion. You won’t be getting a trial either. Enjoy the New World Order you stinking coward.

    • fucktheNSA@gmail.com' Fool Onthe Hill says:

      RWB You sir/mam? Are an example of the brain washed masses that
      deserve just what you are getting and will probably volunteer for work in
      the closed prison camp when you are rounded up by the Stazi in the
      near future New World Order community. Your attitude proved that the
      majority of this country is brain dead, and happy to stay that way.

    • georges70@verizon.net' Eileen K. says:

      “Those who would give up Liberty for a modicum of Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” – Benjamin Franklin

      What part of the 4th Amendment don’t you understand, RWB?

  4. l.pierce@frontier.net' Lucy says:

    I don’t really care if they spy on communications or not, in fact I figured it was going on behind the scenes for years. You would have to be pretty gullible to believe otherwise. I guess if your talking about something that is against the law, or worse, then by all means ‘worry’ about it. My family and I appreciate all the Government does and tries to do to make us safe.

    • fucktheNSA@gmail.com' Fool Onthe Hill says:

      Enjoy the ride Lucky… it will be a short one the way things are going.
      You may have another year of pseudo freedom, before the next big
      staged Terror attach shuts down the country for good. Enjoy sweety.
      Another example of too much TV and Cell Phone brain toasting. You
      might as well start digging a deep hole.

  5. afnetnews@gmail.com' AffinityNetNews says:

    The NSA, is a “commercial department” of THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA INCORPORATED, a private foreign invading hostile occupying corporate entity with absolutely no lawful authority or jurisdiction within the 50 state Republic according to its own by-laws and business charter.

    Obama is the CEO and employee of this criminal fascist invading corporation, and only represents USA Inc., and not our common law Republic.

    Obama is a liar, traitor and foreign invading agent of this entity and does not represent We The People or the Republic.

    WASHINGTON DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA Inc., is a separate and independent corporate nation-state copyrighted and registered in Delaware as a private corporation. Under its own charter only has jurisdiction within a 10 square mile landmass, and has no jurisdiction or authority within the 50 state Republic.

    The NSA is an enemy of the Republic as is all invading commercial departments of this criminal cartel controlled by the private Federal Reserve Banking System that gained ownership of our bankrupt government in 1933, as our creditor, under the Emergency Banking Relief Act.

  6. ddearborn@comcast.net' DDearborn says:

    Hmmm
    While protecting the “public interests” sound admirable is has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH the fact that spying on Americans without a warrant is Unconstitutional because it directly violates the 4th amendment.

    And for an “expert” in law to attempt to argue his case on that point is nothing short of telling the American people that they can go to hell.

  7. some@dude.com' some dude says:

    me thinks they doth protest too much …

  8. usul@q.com' Usul says:

    This is a Straw Man argument for the criminal government to easily knock down, giving the impression that they are within the law. The NSA doesn’t just collect “metadata”, they listen and record EVERYTHING, which is what is really unconstitutional and for which they should be prosecuted. This fight is in the wrong court and for the wrong issue.

  9. kansas1@zoominternet.net' SWIFT says:

    Over whelming proof that if you pay an attorney enough, he/she will invent a defense, no matter how improbable or immoral. The sewers of DC are teaming with their like.

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