A federal judge has told government attorneys to answer by Nov. 11 a request for a court decision to shut down the National Security Agency’s PRISM spy program.
The ruling came in a District of Columbia courtroom in a case brought by attorney Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch on behalf of several plaintiffs.
Klayman, a former U.S. Justice Department prosecutor, is asking for orders that the NSA spy program that collects communications data on millions of people be “immediately stopped, and all illegally obtained and unauthorized records of plaintiffs and all American citizens purged.”
He has filed a request for preliminary injunctions to halt Washington’s access to the information. The next hearing in the case is scheduled Nov. 18
“It is unbelievable that the American people are now living a horror story like this,” he said. “Even George Orwell could not have envisioned this outrage, with hundreds of millions of Americans being spied on, and coerced into submission by a tyrannical government.
“If this had been 1776, our Founding Fathers, being considered subversives by King George III, would have never made it to Philadelphia to debate and sign the Declaration of Independence. Their communications would have been intercepted, and they would have been arrested and executed on the spot.”
Klayman, who also is planning a Nov. 19 “Reclaim America Now” rally in Washington, said that “237 years later, the American people are again under the rule of a despot, Barack Hussein Obama, who undoubtedly will attempt to use the NSA to coerce his adversaries, at a minimum, into silence, and thus head off a people’s revolt.”
“The people’s grievances are not being heard by either major political party and the NSA’s PRISM surveillance, which is endorsed by many in Congress on both sides of the aisle, is intended to squelch dissent and intimidate We the People into not standing up to our corrupt government leaders,” he said.
His case addresses the revelations in recent weeks of the extent of NSA spying on Americans, foreign heads of state and others.
Klayman noted the world has “learned more shocking details about the NSA’s surveillance activities, with even revelations that agency personnel have used this surveillance to spy on their paramours.”
“If low-level personnel are using PRISM in this way, one can only imagine what high-level political appointees and supervisors are doing and are capable of doing on behalf of the Obama administration,” he said.
Klayman’s case challenges the NSA’s programs to “systematically gather, intercept and analyze vast quantities of telephonic and online ‘metadata’ of U.S. citizens.”
He charges that for a decade, the NSA “has engaged in illicit surveillance tactics, utilizing custom-built supercomputers, technical trickery, unlawful court orders, behind-the scenes persuasions, and collaborations with major technology companies, in addition to implementing overreaching unlawful surveillance programs to obtain content and metadata on millions of ordinary Americans without individual warrants.”
Among the details captured are pieces of information about plaintiffs Klayman, Charles Strange and Mary Ann Strange.
The request to the court said: “Clearly, plaintiffs’ expectation that their communication records will not be subject to long-term recording, aggregation and surveillance by the government is objectively reasonable, particularly as the intrusive surveillance at issue allows the government to gather … details of each individual and their associations with one another, including their clients, supports, and membership.”
The case alleges violations of the Fifth Amendment.
Reuters reported recently that the Senate Intelligence Committee has endorsed a plan to tighten controls on the government’s sweeping electronic eavesdropping programs but allow them to continue.
The panel, following a classified hearing, voted 11-4 for a measure that puts new limits on what intelligence bureaus can do with that metadata and says such information cannot be held for longer that five years.
Just a few days earlier, President Obama, reacting to the public outcry over the government’s spying, ordered the NSA to stop listening in on the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.