In response to a lawsuit filed by an activist in June against the NSA’s massive collection of private phone data, a federal judge ruled that the program is possibly a violation of the Fourth Amendment but fell short of ordering the program shut down.
udge Richard Leon declared that the mass collection of so-called metadata probably violates the fourth amendment, relating to unreasonable searches and seizures, and is “almost Orwellian” in its scope.
He also expressed doubt about the central rationale for the program cited by the NSA: that it is necessary for preventing terrorist attacks. “The government does not cite a single case in which analysis of the NSA’s bulk metadata collection actually stopped an imminent terrorist attack,” wrote Leon, a US district judge in the District of Columbia. [..]
Leon, an appointee of George W Bush, granted a preliminary injunction sought by plaintiffs Larry Klayman and Charles Strange, concluding that their constitutional challenge was likely to be successful. In what was the only comfort to the NSA in a stinging judgment, he put the ruling on hold, pending an appeal by the government.
But Leon’s opinion contained stern and repeated warnings that he was inclined to rule that the metadata collection performed by the NSA – and defended vigorously by the NSA director Keith Alexander on CBS on Sunday night – was unconstitutional.
Glenn Greenwald weighed in on this on MSNBC’s 4 PM program and there was a discussion with a former Obama administration DOJ lawyer and a spokesperson for the ACLU.
If the video becomes available, I’ll add it.