BOSTON (CBS) – This is seen as vindication by critics of the NSA.
The administration and even many lawmakers have been telling us there’s nothing to see here. Move right along. Some have suggested that programs like these are the price we pay for staying safe.
Enter U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon – appointed by President George W. Bush in 2002 – who rules the government’s collection of phone records almost certainly violates the constitution.
In his opinion, the judge calls the program “almost Orwellian.”
But here’s what jumped out at me in the judge’s ruling – he says government lawyers did not cite a single instance in which this phone data actually stopped an imminent attack against the United States. Nor did the phone records help the government achieve any time sensitive objective.
Exactly the opposite of what we’ve been told.
So then what in the world are these guys doing? And how has the program been repeatedly re-authorized?
I suspect the government will attempt to answer these questions when it appeals. But the burden will once again fall on President Obama to explain this.
Remember it was this President who promised transparency when he ran for office. He vowed to restore our civil liberties.
You don’t have to be a constitutional law expert to see the potential conflict here.
But, of course, the president is one.
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