ACLU asks judge to halt NSA surveillance

ACLU asks judge to halt NSA surveillance

Posted: Updated:

TOM HAYS | AP

NEW YORK (AP) -- The U.S. government's interpretation of its authority under the Patriot Act is so broad that it could justify mass collection of financial, health and even library records of innocent Americans without their knowledge, a civil liberties lawyer warned Friday at a hearing on a lawsuit challenging a federal phone-tracking program.

"If you accept the government's theory here, you are creating a dramatic expansion of the government's investigative power," Jameel Jaffer of the American Civil Liberties Union told a judge in federal court in Manhattan.

A government lawyer, Stuart Dellery, insisted that counterterrorism investigators wouldn't find most personal information useful. Analysis of phone records, however, has become an essential -- and legal -- tool to "find connections between known and unknown terrorists," he argued.

U.S. District Court Judge William H. Pauley reserved decision on an ACLU request to halt the National Security Agency surveillance programs pending the outcome of its suit against the Obama administration.

The ACLU sued earlier this year after former NSA analyst Edward Snowden leaked details of the secret programs that critics say violate privacy rights. The NSA-run programs pick up millions of telephone and Internet records that are routed through American networks each day.

Intelligence officials say they have helped disrupt dozens of terrorist attacks, and target only foreign suspects outside the United States while taking close care not to look at the content of conversations or messages by American citizens.

The ACLU has asked Pauley to declare the program unconstitutional, arguing that it exceeds the congressional authority provided by the Patriot Act, which Congress passed after 9/11 and reauthorized in 2005 and 2010. President Barack Obama has defended the program and said privacy must be balanced with security.

On Friday, Jaffer argued that to protect innocent Americans' constitutional rights, the courts should require the collection of phone data to be much more narrow and focused.

"You don't need all call records in order to do what the government says it want to do," he said.

Dellery countered that the phone-record dragnet should be distinguished from ordinary forms of surveillance because it's designed to detect and disrupt ongoing terror plots.

"These investigations are different from ordinary criminal investigations," he said.

Pauley questioned Dellery about how much Congress knew about the phone-tracking programs when it voted to reauthorize the Patriot Act. He cited a brief filed on behalf of Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., that "vehemently disputes" that Congress intended to authorize the program challenged by the ACLU suit.

Dellery insisted that the program was spelled out to lawmakers before they voted. "The record establishes that oversight committees of both houses were briefed," he said.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • 8 confirmed mumps cases at Stevens Institute of Technology

    8 confirmed mumps cases at Stevens Institute of Technology

    Friday, April 18 2014 8:26 AM EDT2014-04-18 12:26:31 GMT
    Officials are investigating eight confirmed cases of mumps found in students at New Jersey's Stevens Institute of Technology.The college in Hoboken says the students range in age from 18 to 21. All were fully vaccinated with two documented doses of mumps-containing vaccine.
    The New Jersey Department of Health is investigating eight confirmed cases of mumps found in students at Stevens Institute of Technology.  The college in Hoboken says the students range in age from 18 to 21. All were fully vaccinated with two documented doses of mumps-containing vaccine. Symptoms include swollen salivary glands, fever, headache, tiredness and loss of appetite.



  • Search for woman who tried to snatch baby in stroller

    NYPD: Woman tried to snatch baby in stroller

    Friday, April 18 2014 7:37 AM EDT2014-04-18 11:37:43 GMT
    Police want to question a woman who tried to push a stroller with a baby inside away from a nanny in Chelsea. The incident occurred on 8th Ave. and 17th St. at about 4 p.m. on Thursday. The 8-month-old baby was not harmed. People who were in the area jumped in to stop the woman before she took off southbound on 8th Ave., according to police. A sketch was released on Friday of the suspect.
    Police want to question a woman who tried to push a stroller with a baby inside away from a nanny in Chelsea. The incident occurred on 8th Ave. and 17th St. at about 4 p.m. on Thursday. The 8-month-old baby was not harmed. People who were in the area jumped in to stop the woman before she took off southbound on 8th Ave., according to police. A sketch was released on Friday of the suspect.
  • Manhattan restaurant proactive on food allergens

    Manhattan restaurant proactive on food allergens

    Thursday, April 17 2014 10:48 PM EDT2014-04-18 02:48:47 GMT
    From the St. Louis spare to a rack of beef, ribs are the specialty for Chef Eddie Montalvo at Blue Smoke Restaurant in the Flat Iron District of Manhattan. While the ribs are smoked for flavor, they are cooked gluten- and nut-free. The restaurant pays special attention to food allergies. Sloan Miller, president of Allergic Girl Resources, says 15 million Americans have a diagnosed food allergy. Eight foods typically set off reactions: peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, dairy, egg, an...
    From the St. Louis spare to a rack of beef, ribs are the specialty for Chef Eddie Montalvo at Blue Smoke Restaurant in the Flat Iron District of Manhattan. While the ribs are smoked for flavor, they are cooked gluten- and nut-free. The restaurant pays special attention to food allergies. Sloan Miller, president of Allergic Girl Resources, says 15 million Americans have a diagnosed food allergy. Eight foods typically set off reactions: peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, dairy, egg, an...
Powered by WorldNow

4739 NW 53rd Avenue, Sutie B
Gainesville, FL 32653

Phone: (352) 371-0051

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices