Via The Hill: ‘A federal court has decided that the National Security Agency’s bulk, warrantless collection of millions of Americans’ phone records is illegal.’
And, ‘“exceeds the scope of what Congress has authorized.”‘
(Illustration found here).
This action is partial aftermath off the disclosures of little Eddie Snowden a couple of years ago. The ruling in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals today came from a case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union against Director of National Intelligence James Clapper following Eddie’s revelation the NSA was listening to just about everybody’s phone calls.
From the Washington Post this evening:
The appeals court, however, said “such an expansive concept of ‘relevance’ is unprecedented and unwarranted.”
In the ruling, written by Judge Gerard E. Lynch, the panel noted that the government never “attempted to identify to what particular ‘authorized investigation’?” the data of all Americans’ phone calls would be relevant.
“At its core,” the panel said, “the approach boils down to the proposition that essentially all telephone records are relevant to essentially all international terrorism investigations.”
Saying the collection has amounted to “an unprecedented contraction of the privacy expectations of all Americans,” the court said the government’s interpretation of the law would also allow for the bulk collection and storage of data associated with Americans’ financial records, medical records, and e-mail and social-media communications.
Just in time, the ruling comes as Congress is about to grapple/grope again with renewal of the US Patriot Act, Section 215 of which the NSA claims authority to collect/listen upon phone calls, and all records of those calls — anybody/everybody potential terrorists. The Act expires June 1.
Last week, the House Judiciary Committee okayed the USA Freedom Act, which would end the NSA program, and the whole House (gang of nut-balls) will start a vote on the bill this Monday.
Again today’s Post on the court decision and the upcoming Congressional dust-up:
The appeals court, noting the impending deadline for the program, declined to grant a preliminary injunction to stop the NSA from collecting the ACLU’s call records.
“In light of the asserted national security interests at stake, we deem it prudent to pause to allow an opportunity for debate in Congress that may (or may not) profoundly alter the legal landscape,” Lynch wrote.
True horror is the NSA is way-over bulked, and incompetent due to it — from last Thursday and a discussion at ZDNet with William Binney, former NSA official, turned ‘whistleblower,’ who spent more than three decades at the agency, now engorged with too-much information:
“That’s why they couldn’t stop the Boston bombing, or the Paris shootings, because the data was all there,” said Binney.
Because the agency isn’t carefully and methodically setting its tools up for smart data collection, that leaves analysts to search for a needle in a haystack.
“The data was all there… the NSA is great at going back over it forensically for years to see what they were doing before that,” he said.
“But that doesn’t stop it.”
Binney called this a “bulk data failure” — in that the NSA programs, leaked by Edward Snowden, are collecting too much for the agency to process.
He said the problem runs deeper across law enforcement and other federal agencies, like the FBI, the CIA, and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which all have access to NSA intelligence.
Sadly, usually bulk handled by an idiot just makes the load more unwieldy.