US NSA's phone spying program ruled illegal by appeals cour

Updated: 2015-05-08 09:51


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Senators from both sides of the aisle, and who are running for president, used Twitter to welcome Thursday's decision.

Sen. Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, said "phone records of law abiding citizens are none of the NSA's business!" while Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont Democrat, said "the NSA is out of control and operating in an unconstitutional manner."

In upholding the NSA program in 2013, Pauley had called it a government "counter-punch" to terrorism at home and abroad.

Pauley ruled 11 days after US District Judge Richard Leon in Washington, D.C. said the "almost Orwellian" program might violate Fourth Amendment limitations on warrantless searches.

Leon issued an injunction to block the program, but put it on hold pending appeal.

While the 2nd Circuit did not resolve the Fourth Amendment issues, Judge Lynch did note the "seriousness" of constitutional concerns over "the extent to which modern technology alters our traditional expectations of privacy."

ACLU lawyer Alex Abdo welcomed Thursday's decision.

"Mass surveillance does not make us any safer, and it is fundamentally incompatible with the privacy necessary in a free society," he said.

The case is American Civil Liberties Union et al v. Clapper et al, 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 14-42.

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