New York Times: N.S.A. Phone Data Collection Illegal, Appeals Court Rules

WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court in New York on Thursday ruled that the once-secret National Security Agency program that is systematically collecting Americans’ phone records in bulk is illegal. The decision comes as a fight in Congress is intensifying over whether to end and replace the program, or to extend it.

In a 97-page ruling, a three-judge panel for the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that a provision of the USA Patriot Act permitting the Federal Bureau of Investigation to collect business records deemed relevant to a counterterrorism investigation cannot be legitimately interpreted to permit the systematic bulk collection of domestic calling records.

The ruling was certain to increase the tension that has been building in Congress because the provision of the Patriot Act that has been cited to justify the bulk data collection program will expire in June unless lawmakers pass a bill to extend it.

WNU Editor: These court rulings are probably going to become moot very soon .... Congress has already indicated that they are going to end the bulk collection of telephone data .... and there is widespread bi-partisan support. On a side note .... this only validates NSA leaker Edward Snowden's claims when he first leaked details of this secret NSA program.

More News On The U.S. Courts Ruling That The N.S.A. Phone Data Collection Program Is Illegal

U.S. NSA domestic phone spying program illegal: appeals court -- Reuters
Appeals Court Rules NSA Phone Program Not Authorized by Patriot Act -- WSJ
US Appeals Court: NSA Phone Record Collection Is Excessive -- AP
Appeals court strikes down government's phone surveillance program -- USA Today

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