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Obama Sued By A Senator Over Phone Surveillance Program


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By Andrew Zajac and Phil Milford Feb 13, 2014 6:23 AM GMT

President Barack Obama was sued by Senator Rand Paul over U.S. electronic surveillance he claims is illegal, adding to challenges that may land post-Sept. 11 government data collection in the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Kentucky Republican announced today that he had filed his complaint in Washington federal court. Paul was joined as co-plaintiff by FreedomWorks Inc., a Tea Party-backed group. The filing couldnt be immediately confirmed in court records.

The government is collecting phone data about U.S. citizens without any belief by defendants at the time of collection or retention or searches that any of the information is connected with international terrorism or an international terrorist organization, in violation of the U.S. Constitutions Fourth Amendment prohibition of unreasonable searches, according to a draft copy of Pauls suit provided by his office.

Consumers willingness to provide companies with information about themselves to get phone service does not reflect a willingness or expectation that they are surrendering the privacy of the information, Paul said in his complaint.

The suit challenges the National Security Agencys bulk collection of phone records of millions of Americans, a program disclosed last year by former agency contractor Edward Snowden.

Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council, referred a request for comment on the suit to the Justice Department. The council, a White House group, consists of administration advisers, mostly from the Cabinet and the military.

Found Legal

We believe the program as it exists is lawful, Hayden said by e-mail, addressing the data collection generally. It has been found to be lawful by multiple courts. And it receives oversight from all three branches of government.

We remain confident that the Section 215 telephone metadata program is legal, as at least 15 judges have previously found, Peter Carr, a Justice Department spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement. White House spokesman Jay Carney declined to comment on the specific litigation. He repeated Obamas position that the program is lawful and has been upheld by courts.

A federal judge in New York ruled Dec. 27 that the program is legal. The ruling came less than two weeks after a federal court in Washington said it may be illegal. The two judges came to opposite conclusions about a landmark 1979 ruling on telephone data in the pre-Internet age.

A divided U.S. privacy-policy board last month concluded the NSA program is illegal and should be stopped.

Minimal Usefulness

The five-member Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, created by Congress under post-Sept. 11 anti-terrorism laws, said in a 238-page report that the program to collect and store the records has provided only minimal help in thwarting terrorist attacks.

The NSA receives phone records from U.S. telecommunications companies and stores them in a database that can be queried to determine who is in contact with suspected terrorist organizations.

The surveillance was authorized by President George W. Bush after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks,. It has been defended as critically important to national security, according to records declassified this month by National Intelligence Director James Clapper.

In the two court rulings, U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III in Manhattan granted a government motion to dismiss a suit filed by groups led by the American Civil Liberties Union.

D.C. Decision

In Washington, Judge Richard Leon barred collection of metadata from the Verizon Wireless accounts of the two plaintiffs. Leon suspended the injunction for a government appeal.

The ACLU appealed Pauleys ruling to the federal Court of Appeals in New York. If appeals courts uphold their respective lower courts, creating a split, the Supreme Court is more likely to take the case.

The information at issue in all three cases involves metadata, which includes the numbers used to make and receive calls and their duration.

It doesnt include information about the content of the communications or the names, addresses or financial information of parties, according to government filings in the Washington case.


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says it all tea party...crack pots loose cannons and mostly bonafide idiots the whole lot of them...and that is what they are called by people who like them ..the best thing that can happen to the democratic party is the tea party... too bad the REAL republicans cannot figure this out

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Who cares privacy when it comes to "Private". We here an equivalent to Tea Party, a crap party, Australian Sex Party, last year, I participated in a so called "Sex Party Camp" actually ended up being an "Orgy" party which was a heaven with 3 hot party chicks all weekend long. My task, for sure, was "training" them.


All horny Fappers you miss a lot there. :)

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