Judge deals NSA defeat on bulk phone collection - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Judge deals NSA defeat on bulk phone collection

Updated:
WASHINGTON, DC -

A federal judge says the National Security Agency's bulk collection of phone records violates the Constitution's ban on unreasonable searches. The judge put his decision on hold pending a nearly certain government appeal.

U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon has granted a preliminary injunction sought by plaintiffs Larry Klayman and Charles Strange, concluding they were likely to prevail in their constitutional challenge. Leon ruled Monday that the two men are likely to be able to show that their privacy interests outweigh the government's interest in collecting the data. Leon says that means that massive collection program is an unreasonable search under the Constitution's Fourth Amendment.

The collection program was disclosed by former National Security Agency systems analyst Edward Snowden, provoking a heated debate over civil liberties.

Last week, the head of the NSA defended the USA's spy program. General Keith Alexander told Congress that global threats are growing, especially in Iraq and Syria, and said it was necessary to spy on millions of cell phones.

"There is no other way that we know of to connect the dots. So that gets us back to - do we not do that at all? Given that the threat is growing I believe that is an unacceptable risk to our country," he argued.

Alexander says the NSA is open to talking to technology companies for a better solution without compromising security.

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