The attorney whose case against the National Security Agency resulted in a judge’s decision its massive data-collection scheme likely is unconstitutional says a new decision from a different judge – this time against the American people – pulls back the curtain on the Washington belief that people should be kept in the dark
The newest decision came Friday in a case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union against the NSA over its bulk collection of millions of telephone and Internet records from Americans.
District Judge William Pauley in Washington said he thinks that it’s legal.
But his opinion was in direct conflict with the determination in another case 10 days earlier, from U.S. District Judge Richard Leon, that the spy-on-Americans program likely is unconstitutional. The conflict sets up a probable U.S. Supreme Court visit to the issue.
Attorney Larry Klayman brought the case that ended up before Leon, and called the NSA data collection the “worst violation of constitutional rights in American history.”
“What’s most dangerous about what is going on is the fact that every time someone picks up their phone, or sends an email, or goes to social media like Facebook, or uses Skype, they now know that the government is watching. And this keeps us from being critical of the government. … And that’s not just un-American, it’s like the former Soviet Union or China,” Klayman said.
He continued: “If our Founding Fathers had lived in these times, and if King George III had had an NSA with that kind of technological capability, the Founding Fathers would have been picked up, arrested and executed before they ever got to Philadelphia to sign the Declaration of Independence.
“We live in what the judge said, and I used the term, too, when I appeared in front of him, an Orwellian state.”
Leon granted a preliminary injunction against further collection of Americans’ phone records by the NSA, which runs computer and digital operations to record and preserve millions of phone and Internet records.
Pauley justified his decision by saying “there is no evidence that the government has used any of the bulk telephony metadata it collected for any purpose other than investigating and disrupting terrorist attacks.”
Leon’s was more basic, determining that it likely violated the U.S. Constitution, no matter for what purpose the government said it was using the spy program information.
In responding to Pauley’s “outrageous” decision, Klayman said, “Pauley rules that the American people have no rights regarding the government and should be kept in the dark. His decision was obviously political and not based on the U.S. Constitution and the law. Pauley is a Democrat appointed by President Bill Clinton and his decision and his ruling creates the appearance that he is currying favor with a Democrat president, Barack Obama, perhaps as a means to advance his career through higher appointment.”
Klayman continued, “This leftist judge apparently believes that the government should control and rule over our entire lives. This belief empowers the government to keep secrets to itself and that by so-called monitoring, which has been proved nonexistent, by the Obama Justice Department and a dysfunctional and compromised Congress is sufficient to protect the American people.”
He said it involves more than just a court case about government spying.
“Unfortunately, the current government no longer represents the people of this country. Judge Pauley is rubberstamping total government power. The reality is that the legislative and executive branches of government created this constitutional crisis with the NSA which is now spiraling out of control. Judge Leon rightfully called the NSA’s program ‘almost-Orwellian technology.’”
Klayman said, “Legitimate spying on terrorism does not trump respecting the civil liberties and freedom of the American people, as Judge Pauley ruled on page 52 of his decision. The rights of the American people consistent with our Constitution cannot be left at the hands of the other two branches. This is a formula for revolution as the government should not have an absolute right to intercept everything.”
Klayman’s criticism of the Pauley decision went further:
“Having run interference for President Obama and his enablers in Congress and putting the freedoms of the American people second to government power, Judge Pauley in effect endorses tyranny that will keep the American people from criticizing their government for fear that if they do so, they will be destroyed by the government with being smeared with their most private information collected by the NSA.”
Klayman said, “This is a way that President Obama can ‘freely’ transform this nation into his desired socialist state. One would expect this from the former Soviet Union and China but not from a federal judge whose oath of office requires him to respect, adhere and enforce the Constitution.”
Pauley also claimed the White House and Congress have oversight over the programs.
The result of Pauley’s ruling was that a case brought by the ACLU was dismissed. There was no immediate word on an appeal.
But in a statement reported in USA Today, Jameel Jaffer, an ACLU spokesman, said, “We are extremely disappointed with this decision, which misinterprets the relevant statutes, understates the privacy implications of the government’s surveillance and misapplies a narrow and outdated precedent to read away core constitutional protections.”
Pauley also found that the right to be free from government searches and seizures is not absolute.
“Every day, people voluntarily surrender personal and seemingly-private information to transnational corporations, which exploit that data for profit,” he said, not explaining the difference between a consumer’s decision to provide information voluntarily and the act of a government spying on its unknowing citizens.
Clinton judge protects Obama and NSA by Larry Klayman