The NSA's Massive Phone-Tracking Program Is Legal, New York Judge Finds

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Less than two weeks after Federal Judge Richard Leon ruled that the NSA's "indiscriminate and arbitrary" invasion of privacy is "likely" unconstitutional, giving a trace of hope that America may rise above its Orwellian Banana republic status, here comes New York City District Judge William Pauley to slam the coffin shut on US privacy and the Fourth amendment, and make a mockery of Edward Snowden's alternative Christmas message. Moments ago the WSJ reported that "a federal judge in New York City has ruled that a massive U.S. phone-tracking program is legal."

U.S. District Judge William Pauley issued the decision Friday, saying the program "represents the government's counter-punch" to eliminate al Qaeda's terrorist network by connecting fragmented and fleeting communications.

 

The ruling notes the terrorist attacks in 2001 and how the National Security Agency's phone data-collection system could have helped investigators connect information before the attacks occurred.

 

The judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU didn't immediately respond to a message for comment.

Bananas for everyone!

From Pauley's ruling, the lies emphasized in bold:

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. While there have been unintentional violations of guidelines, those appear to stem from human error and the incredibly complex computer programs that support this vital tool. And once detected, those violations were self-reported and stopped. The bulk telephony metadata collection program is subject to executive and congressional oversight, as well as continual monitoring by a dedicated group of judges who serve on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

 

No doubt, the bulk telephony metadata collection program vacuums up information about virtually every telephone call to, from, or within the United States. That is by design, as it allows the NSA to detect relationships so attenuated and ephemeral they would otherwise escape notice. As the September 11th attacks demonstrate, the cost of missing such a thread can be horrific: Technology allowed al-Qaeda to operate decentralized and plot international terrorist attacks remotely. The bulk telephony metadata collection program represents the Government's counter-punch: connecting fragmented and fleeting communications to re-construct and eliminate al-Qaeda's terror network.

 

"Liberty and security can be reconciled; and in our system they are reconciled within the framework of the law." Boumediene, 553 U.S. at 798. The success of one helps protect the other. Like the 9/11 Commission observed: The choice between liberty and security is a false one, as nothing is more apt to imperil civil liberties than the success of a terrorist attack on American soil. The 9/11 Commission Report, at 395. A court's solemn duty is "to reject as false, claims in the name of civil liberty which, if granted, would paralyze or impair authority to defend [the], existence of our society, and to reject as false, claims in the name of security which would undermine our freedoms and open the way to oppression. American Comm'cns Ass'n,  C.I.O. v. Douds, 339 U.S. 382, 445 (1950) (Jackson, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part).

 

For all of these reasons, the NSA's bulk telephony metadata collection program is lawful. Accordingly, the Government's motion to dismiss the complaint is granted and the ACLU's motion for a preliminary injunction is denied. 

And a brief bio on the Judge:

Born in Glen Cove, New York, Pauley received an A.B. from Duke University in 1974 and a J.D. from Duke University School of Law in 1977. He was a law clerk, Office of the Nassau County Attorney, New York from 1977 to 1978. He was a Deputy county attorney of Nassau County Attorney' Office, New York in 1978. He was in private practice in New York City from 1978 to 1998. He was an Assistant counsel, New York State Assembly Minority Leader, New York from 1984 to 1998.

 

Pauley is a federal judge on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Pauley was nominated by President Bill Clinton on May 21, 1998, to a seat vacated by Peter K. Leisure. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on October 21, 1998, and received his commission on October 22, 1998.

 

Among his notable decisions was that involving Ben-ami Kadish, a U.S. national who pleaded guilty to passing classified information to Israel.

 

Full ruling below: