Federal Judge: NSA Phone Surveillance is Legal

By: CBS News / AP
By: CBS News / AP
A federal judge in New York has ruled that a massive federal phone-tracking program is legal. He says the program "represents the government

AP Photo

Dec. 27, 2013

NEW YORK (CBS News/AP) - A federal judge in New York has ruled that a massive federal phone-tracking program is legal.

U.S. District Judge William Pauley issued the decision Friday. He says the program "represents the government's counter-punch" to eliminate al Qaeda's terror network by connecting fragmented and fleeting communications.

In ruling, the judge noted the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and how the phone data-collection system could have helped investigators connect the dots before the attacks occurred.

He says the government learned from its mistake and "adapted to confront a new enemy: a terror network capable of orchestrating attacks across the world." He said the data-collection program was part of the adjustment.

He dismissed a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU did not immediately respond to a message for comment.

Earlier this month U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon ruled in a suit brought against Verizon that the National Security Agency's bulk collection of phone records violates the U.S. Constitution's ban on unreasonable searches. The judge put his decision on hold pending a near-certain government appeal.

In his 68-page, heavily-footnoted opinion, Leon wrote that, despite the government's defense of sweeping electronic surveillance as a crucial tool against terrorism, there was not a single instance in which the NSA program "actually stopped an imminent terrorist attack."

"I have serious doubts about the efficacy of the metadata collection program as a means of conducting time-sensitive investigations in cases involving imminent threats of terrorism," he added.

The collection program was disclosed by former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden, provoking a heated debate over civil liberties.


The comments sections of Newsplex.com are designed for thoughtful, intelligent conversation and debate. We want to hear from our viewers, but we ask that you follow our rules for commenting. E-mail is required to comment on a story, but it will not be displayed with your comment. For complete rules, CLICK HERE. The Newsplex reserves the right to not post or to remove any comment.
powered by Disqus
The Charlottesville Newsplex 999 2nd Street S.E. Charlottesville, VA 22902 434.242.1919 – Main 434.220.7522 - Newsroom
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 237504021 - newsplex.com/a?a=237504021