ACLU Sues Obama Over NSA Spying

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The American Civil Liberties Union and the New York Civil Liberties Union filed suit Tuesday against the Administration of Barack Obama, challenging the National Security Agency’s Constitutional authority to conduct warrantless surveillance on Americans’ communications.

The suit alleges that the Administration is violating citizens’ 1st and 4th Amendment protections.

ACLU said in a statement:

Last week, The Guardian released an order issued by the FISC that compelled a Verizon subsidiary—Verizon Business Network Services (VBNS)—to hand over, on an “ongoing, daily basis,” details for every phone call placed on its network for a prospective three-month period. Collecting those details—”metadata” that reveals who people talk to, for how long, how often, and possibly from where—allows the government to paint an alarmingly detailed picture of Americans’ private lives. The FISC order cited Section 215 as its legal basis, yet the breadth of the authority it granted to the government is simply incompatible with the text of the statute.

As an organization that advocates for and litigates to defend the civil liberties of society’s most vulnerable, the staff at the ACLU naturally use the phone—a lot—to talk about sensitive and confidential topics with clients, legislators, whistleblowers, and ACLU members. And since the ACLU is a VBNS customer, we were immediately confronted with the harmful impact that such broad surveillance would have on our legal and advocacy work. So we’re acting quickly to get into court to challenge the government’s abuse of Section 215…

…With today’s lawsuit, the ACLU is now attacking Section 215 on three legal fronts: in our ongoing FOIA litigation seeking the government’s secret interpretation of the law; in the FISA Court through yesterday’s public-access motion; and now, in a constitutional lawsuit in federal court. When the government is claiming such chillingly expansive surveillance powers, it’s all hands on deck.

Find a copy of the complaint below:
 
The Constitutionality of the NSA spy program was previously challenged in a lawsuit by Larry Klayman, the former chairman of Judicial Watch, and two other plaintiffs who say the government spied on their Verizon accounts. The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, claims the tactic “violates the U.S. Constitution and also federal laws, including, but not limited to, the outrageous breach of privacy, freedom of speech, freedom of association, and the due process rights of American citizens.”

Personal Liberty

Sam Rolley

Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After covering community news and politics, Rolley took a position at Personal Liberty Media Group where could better hone his focus on his true passions: national politics and liberty issues. In his daily columns and reports, Rolley works to help readers understand which lies are perpetuated by the mainstream media and to stay on top of issues ignored by more conventional media outlets.

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  • Phillip Maine

    I never dreamed I would be on the same side as the ACLU on an issue, but I am. It is a crying shame that most of those on the right do not understand and are willing to sacrifice our freedoms. I thought they were for limited government, not 1984.

  • John Woodbury

    Ha, Ha, Ha. It would be funny if it was not so serious. Well, “useful fools are the first to go when no longer needed.” The very forefront of the progressive movement now wakes up. Too Freaking late.

  • DavidL

    The ACLU has and continues to serve this country well. Even when it loses, and I believe it will in this case, it moves us forward. I would not be surprised if its case is thrown out because of a lack of standing.

    What is the difference, other than in electronics and scope, of cops on the beat , watching us and responding to suspicion and probably cause? The current wave of the industrial revolution requires us ever to adjust and to balance liberty and order. Superficial analysis with minimal factual understanding of the complexity of the issue, as well as the feel good references that you read 1984 and Animal Farm, is not a substitute for a responsible and meaningful discussion of the matter.

    • Frank Kahn

      Please inform us about your training in the legal field, which grants you the wisdom to declare that they don’t have standing in the matter.

      If the authorization was for all Verizon customers, and they are a customer, that gives them standing.

      The fact that you are a liberal excuses your ignorance of the difference between spying (eavesdropping) and visual surveillance. A lack of intellect might also excuse your incorrect assumption that a cop, on the street, looking at you, is the same as an agency installing hidden cameras to watch you when you have a reasonable expectation of privacy. If a cop is visible to you in public, and he is close enough to listen to what you say, it is a matter of privacy, or lack thereof. You have no reasonable expectation of privacy in that public setting, which is different than when you are sitting in your home, or office, talking on the phone. Monitoring phone conversations is not much different than having them install microphone and recording equipment in your home to listen to your private conversations.

      Saying that the spying, and attempts at social engineering, as well as thought and speech control, is reminiscent of Animal Farm or 1984 is not an attempt at substitution for meaningful discussion. It is a way to compare one item to another. The fact that liberals don’t like our current administrations close similarity to Animal Farm, and its policies matching almost perfectly 1984, is proof that they also recognize the problem. If you didn’t think there is a close comparison to the two you would have no reason to object to the fact being talked about.

      If you want to discuss a difference of opinion about Obama and the lead character in Animal Farm, please pick an item, that is being compared, and tell us how we are wrong.

  • Robbie

    The Patriot Act was created by a Republican President. No one here said boo about it back then.

    • Farleyagain

      Yes we did. This is not a partisan issue, this is a constitutional breach.

      • Robbie

        Then take it up with your GO people who brought this in in the first place.

        • Farleyagain

          Robbie, If either party wanted to stop this, they would have. Neither party is for us.

    • vicki

      We said a great deal about it (strongly opposed to it). You just wern’t listening.

  • Joseph

    If this country would get back to Jesus?And not religion we would see our goverment shrink in size for one thing but also it would line up with what we all want deep inside us.Even though there is some really dark days that must need to come to pass we can have devine protection! And one more thing we need to stop looking to goverment and or man to solve our needs and problems!!!!!

  • Farleyagain

    Thank God, the ACLU is taking this on. I say Godspeed to the ACLU in this effort. My hands are definitely on deck.

  • scott miller

    Many of us complained about this “patriot” act when bush did it.

    The media were so far up his butt that even if he wanted to he would have had a hard time abusing it like this admin has, or maybe he really was a good/stupid guy and never had dreams it would be used for this stuff.

    Obama and his cronies break the law on multiple fronts, abuse the rights of i am quite safe in assuming innocent americans for the most part. and this media and all these liberal groups that accused gwb2 of criminal activity and abusing peoples rights, sit quielty on the sidelines with their thumbs up their asses while thi admin racks up more criminal violations than nixon.

  • hungry4food

    Close Down the IRS and put in place of it a Fair Tax or Flat tax system that does away with the need for Loop hole scrutiny because its become a Political WMD and will never get better the greed is to intense !!! http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/irs-cancels-order-spying-equipment

  • BarrackHussein

    This is getting scary when you have to go to the ACLU to move to the right…
    Sieg Heil