Everything You Need to Know About Today's Court Decision Against NSA Spying - Rolling Stone
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Everything You Need to Know About Today’s Court Ruling on NSA Spying

See why a federal judge slammed the government’s surveillance program as ‘almost-Orwellian’

Edward SnowdenEdward Snowden

Edward Snowden

The Guardian via Getty Images

Score one for Edward Snowden. In the first judicial challenge of the NSA’s constant, suspicionless surveillance of Americans’ cell phone records, a federal judge appointed by George W. Bush ruled that the “metadata program” is likely unconstitutional: “The plaintiffs have a substantial likelihood of showing that . . . the NSA’s bulk collection program is indeed an unreasonable search under the Fourth Amendment,” wrote District Judge Richard J. Leon. Today’s ruling granted the plaintiffs a preliminary injunction – but stayed that order at least six months pending the Obama administration’s inevitable appeal.

Here are the seven most scathing one-liners from Judge Leon’s decision:

1. “I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary invasion’ than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every citizen . . .”

2. “. . . the almost-Orwellian technology . . .”

3.“Records that once would have revealed a few scattered tiles of information about a person now reveal an entire mosaic – a vibrant constantly updating picture of a person’s life.”

4. “No court has ever recognized a special need sufficient to justify continuous, daily searches of virtually every American citizen without any particularized suspicion. The Government urges me to be the first non-FISC judge to sanction such a dragnet.”

5. “The Government does not cite a single instance in which analysis of the NSA’s bulk metadata collection actually stopped an imminent attack . . .”

6. Because of “the utter lack of evidence that a terrorist act has ever been prevented because searching the NSA database was faster than other investigative tactics – I have serious doubts about the efficacy of the metadata collection program . . .”

7. “I have little doubt that the author of our Constitution, James Madison . . . would be aghast.”


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