The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has driven a stake through the heart of the vampire known as the “National Security Agency.”
The sweeping decision from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday represents a major court victory for opponents of the NSA and comes just as Congress begins a fight over whether to renew the underlying law used to justify the program.That program “exceeds the scope of what Congress has authorized,” Judge Gerard Lynch wrote on behalf of the three-judge panel.
The law “cannot be interpreted in a way that defies any meaningful limit,” he added.
Additionally, the government’s rationale behind the program represents “a monumental shift in our approach to combating terrorism,” which was not grounded in a clear explanation of the law.
The Second Circuit’s decision provides the most significant legal blow to the NSA operations to date and comes more than a year after a lower court called the program “almost-Orwellian” and likely unconstitutional. The appeals court did not examine the constitutionality of the surveillance program in its ruling on Thursday.
This decision, which will almost certainly be appealed to the Supreme Court, comes at the time when the Patriot Act is being reviewed for revision by the Congress. The section of the Act that the NSA is used to justify the program, section 215, is due to expire the end of this month.
Some in Congress are attempting to amend the Act to stop bulk data collection practices. The Republican leadership in the Senate can’t be counted among those who would like to see the NSA reined in.
We stand with the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. We also stand with Benjamin Franklin, who reportedly said:
Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
We will keep you up-to-date on developments as they happen.
Three Judge Panel Finds NSA Cyber Surveillance Programs Illegal
The New York Times reports that a federal appeals court has found the surveillance programs revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden are illegal. The three judge panel ruled that the National Security Agency utilized the Patriot Act provision beyond it’s legal limits. The Times relayed the panels’ decision that bulk collection of domestic calling records cannot be justified or deemed relevant to counter-terrorism investigations. In 2013 Snowden revealed through the reporting of Glenn Greenwald, at the time with The Guardian publication, that NSA programs have been collecting massive amounts of data from internet users for years in what has publicly been considered a systemic violation of privacy.
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