I am so mad about this that I am literally at a loss for words.
The Obama administration for the first time responded to a Spygate lawsuit, telling a federal judge the wholesale vacuuming up of all phone-call metadata in the United States is in the “public interest,” does not breach the constitutional rights of Americans and cannot be challenged in a court of law.
Thursday’s response marks the first time the administration has officially answered one of at least four lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of a secret U.S. snooping program the Guardian newspaper disclosed last month. The administration’s filing sets the stage for what is to be a lengthy legal odyssey — one likely to outlive the Obama presidency — that will define the privacy rights of Americans for years to come.
This is in direct conflict with the Fourth Admendment and the way the US has operated for 225+ years.
First the Fourth admendment to the US Constitution.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
The Fourth Amendment (Amendment IV) to the United States Constitution is the part of the Bill of Rights that guards against unreasonable searches and seizures, along with requiring any warrant to be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause. It was adopted as a response to the abuse of the writ of assistance, which is a type of general search warrant, in the American Revolution. Search and seizure (including arrest) should be limited in scope according to specific information supplied to the issuing court, usually by a law enforcement officer, who has sworn by it. The Fourth Amendment applies to the states by way of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
How is it possible it cannot be challenged in Court? They do not have a warrant. They do not have probable cause and it is not specific in what it targets.
ACLU Blog response which I support
As I said when we sued over the program’s constitutionality, the program “is the equivalent of requiring every American to file a daily report with the government of every location they visited, every person they talked to on the phone, the time of each call and the length of every conversation.”
JJ: In my view, this is the wrong question. The collection of all of this data is itself an abuse—a gross violation of the right to privacy. This said, it’s certainly true that the creation of these kinds of databases could lead to all sorts of second-order abuses. As I wrote in this New York Times debate, there’s already a great deal of evidence that the government’s surveillance powers are being trained against the wrong targets and used for the wrong purposes:
Here is an article about the Department of Homeland Security conducting inappropriate surveillance of protesters associated with Occupy Wall Street. Here is a report of the Justice Department’s inspector general finding that the F.B.I. monitored a political group because of its anti-war views. Here is a story in which a former C.I.A. official says that the agency gathered information about a prominent war critic “in order to discredit him.”
Metadata again… Perhaps a clearer picture.
But any suggestion that Americans have nothing to worry about from this dragnet collection of communications metadata is wrong. Even without intercepting the content of communications, the government can use metadata to learn our most intimate secrets – anything from whether we have a drinking problem to whether we’re gay or straight. The suggestion that metadata is “no big deal” – a view that, regrettably, is still reflected in the law – is entirely out of step with the reality of modern communications.
So what exactly is metadata? Simply, if the “data” of a communication is the content of an email or phone call, this is data about the data – the identities of the sender and recipient, and the time, date, duration and location of a communication. This information can be extraordinarily sensitive. A Massachusetts Institute of Technology study a few years back found that reviewing people’s social networking contacts alone was sufficient to determine their sexual orientation. Consider, metadata from email communications was sufficient to identify the mistress of then-CIA Director David Petraeus and then drive him out of office.
The secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court gave the green light to the Obama administration by recertifying a court order allowing the NSA to collect telephone records in bulk on millions of Verizon customers, the White House said Friday.
The court order was to expire at 5 p.m. Friday.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence said its authority to maintain the program expired July 19 and the government sought and received a renewal from the secret surveillance court.
The FISA Court in Washington oversees U.S. surveillance programs. It consists of 11 federal judges, all whom have been appointed by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.
Another article another point
“On June 6, 2013, the Director of National Intelligence declassified certain information about this telephony metadata collection program in order to provide the public with a more thorough and balanced understanding of the program,” the statement reads in part. “Consistent with his prior declassification decision and in light of the significant and continuing public interest in the telephony metadata collection program, the DNI has decided to declassify and disclose publicly that the Government filed an application with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court seeking renewal of the authority to collect telephony metadata in bulk, and that the Court renewed that authority.”
It is simply a Catch-22.
••You cannot challenge any part of the NSA spying program( Prism, Boundless Informant, etc) in Court.
••The Govt can in total secrecy renew a program with apparently no accountability to anyone and in direct and total conflict with the Fourth Admendment
I will never for the life of me understand how the vast majority of the population has just sat back and done NOTHING and shown zero OUTRAGE as the biggest net in History has encircled us in so many alarming and illegal and all encompassing ways. The loss of our Liberty… Idea of Freedom has been shattered. It is a tremendous shame. Ha s it really been worth the Cost?
War on Terror = 2 of the longest wars in US History, Trillions of Dollars-Yes Trillions-, torturing and kidnapping people in the dead of night, Hundreds of Thousands Dead Iraqis alone, Service Members who died serving or by their own hand. The Cherry on top is while we were distracted the largest police state ever assembled was placed around us. Much in the same way the Town is Captured under the Dome in that Steven King Story/Television Mini Series.
Rise of Warrior Cop
further blurring the lines between a police or military state.
The police tactics at issue in the Stewart case are no anomaly. Since the 1960s, in response to a range of perceived threats, law-enforcement agencies across the U.S., at every level of government, have been blurring the line between police officer and soldier. Driven by martial rhetoric and the availability of military-style equipment—from bayonets and M-16 rifles to armored personnel carriers—American police forces have often adopted a mind-set previously reserved for the battlefield. The war on drugs and, more recently, post-9/11 antiterrorism efforts have created a new figure on the U.S. scene: the warrior cop—armed to the teeth, ready to deal harshly with targeted wrongdoers, and a growing threat to familiar American liberties.
The acronym SWAT stands for Special Weapons and Tactics. Such police units are trained in methods similar to those used by the special forces in the military. They learn to break into homes with battering rams and to use incendiary devices called flashbang grenades, which are designed to blind and deafen anyone nearby. Their usual aim is to “clear” a building—that is, to remove any threats and distractions (including pets) and to subdue the occupants as quickly as possible.
The country’s first official SWAT team started in the late 1960s in Los Angeles. By 1975, there were approximately 500 such units. Today, there are thousands. According to surveys conducted by the criminologist Peter Kraska of Eastern Kentucky University, just 13% of towns between 25,000 and 50,000 people had a SWAT team in 1983. By 2005, the figure was up to 80%.