http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/17/us...ogram.html?hp:NSA Phone Program Likely Unconstitutional, Federal Judge Rules
A federal judge ruled Monday that the National Security Agency's phone surveillance program is likely unconstitutional, Politico reports.
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon [a Bush appointee] said that the agency's controversial program, first unveiled by former government contractor Edward Snowden earlier this year, appears to violate the Constitution's Fourth Amendment, which states that the "right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated."
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/1...n_4454538.html (with full ruling)
The tide is turning. This ruling ultimately would reverse a FISA Court ruling that the collection is Constitutional.The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which secretly approved the N.S.A. program after hearing arguments from only the Justice Department, has maintained that the 1979 decision [Smith v. Maryland] is a controlling precedent that shields the program from Fourth Amendment review. But Judge Leon said the scope of the program and the way people use phones today distinguishes the N.S.A. data collection from the type at issue in that case.
Judge Leon also emphasized that he was unpersuaded by the government’s claims that the program served the public interest, pointedly noting that it failed to cite “a single instance in which analysis of the N.S.A.'s bulk metadata collection actually stopped an imminent attack, or otherwise aided the government in achieving any objective that was time-sensitive.”
(The ruling has been stayed pending Government appeal.)