Last Updated:July 7 @ 12:20 pm

ACLU sues Obama administration officials in NSA phone surveillance case

By United Press International

A civil liberties watchdog Tuesday sued a clutch of Obama administration officials in federal court in New York, challenging its phone surveillance enterprises.

The American Civil Liberties Union's lawsuit in U.S. District Court names National Intelligence Director James Clapper, National Security Agency Director Keith Alexander, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Director Robert Mueller.

The ACLU is challenging the phone surveillance program the NSA has pursued under the auspices of the Patriot Act, contending the agency's collection of metadata has violated Americans' constitutional rights of free speech, association and privacy.

The suit came a day after the ACLU went to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court seeking the release of secret court opinions on the Patriot Act's Section 215, which has been interpreted to authorize the warrantless collection of phone records.

"Collecting those details -- 'metadata' that reveals who people talk to, for how long, how often, and possibly from where -- allows the government to paint an alarmingly detailed picture of Americans' private lives," the ACLU's Brett Max Kaufman said in a statement.

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"The FISC order cited Section 215 as its legal basis, yet the breadth of the authority it granted to the government is simply incompatible with the text of the statute.

The employer of Edward Snowden, who claimed responsibility for leaking U.S. intelligence surveillance operations, said Tuesday it fired him the day before.

Meanwhile, Russian officials said they would weigh whether to grant asylum to Snowden, who holed up in a Hong Kong hotel until Monday when he checked out. His whereabouts are unknown.

In a statement, Booz Allen confirmed Snowden "was terminated June 10, 2013, for violations of the firm's code of ethics and firm policy."

The statement said he was employed for less than three months and assigned to a team based in Hawaii.

"News reports that this individual has claimed to have leaked classified information are shocking, and if accurate, this action represents a grave violation of the code of conduct and core values of our firm," the statement said. "We will work closely with our clients and authorities in their investigation of this matter."

Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday if Russian authorities receive an asylum request, "we will consider it," business daily Kommersant reported.

White House spokesman Jay Carney, asked during his daily press briefing in Washington, whether the United States wants to prosecute Snowden, pointed out there is an investigation taking place "and it is for the investigators to determine whether or not crimes have been committed and to decide what charges, if any, will be brought."

Carney also disputed the contention by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., that Clapper didn't give "straight answers" on the NSA surveillance effort at a March hearing and said the president "certainly believes that Director Clapper has been straight and direct in the answers that he's given, and has actively engaged in an effort to provide more information about the programs that have been revealed through the leak of classified information."

When pressed by a reporter who said even Clapper has acknowledged he wasn't as forthcoming as he could have been, Carney said the thought the director "has been aggressive in providing as much information as possible to the American people, to the press about these very sensitive and very important programs that are authorized by Congress under Section 702 and Section 215 of the Patriot Act -- a public statute, a much-debated public statute that has been passed into law and reauthorized I believe three times by Congress with bipartisan majorities."

Snowden, 29, a former CIA computer technician who was an intelligence contractor, said Sunday he was the source of recent leaks about the NSA's cellphone and Internet monitoring program known as "Prism."

Snowden has sought asylum since leaking the top-secret NSA documents to media, the British publication The Daily Telegraph reported.

"The only thing I can do is sit here and hope the Hong Kong government does not deport me," Snowden told The Guardian, suggesting he could seek protection in Iceland. The Guardian broke the story.

Snowden's disclosures also raised questions about outsourcing U.S. intelligence operations, the Telegraph said. More than half the 25,000 employees of Booz Allen, Snowden's employer, hold government security clearances.

"The process has just been a great wealth transfer to the private sector," former CIA case officer Bob Baer told the Telegraph. "And I hate the systems they've built because they never caught a terrorist."

Snowden's disappearance came as the Justice Department began assembling information for a possible case against him, The New York Times reported.


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  1. davebnmComment by davebnm
    June 12, 2013 @ 8:51 am

    The liberal news is trying to divert our attention by talking about Google doing the same thing.
    What won’t they do for The Leader?

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    • RattlerjakeComment by rattlerjake
      June 12, 2013 @ 10:54 am

      Let’s also watch how they mention private sector jobs and companies benefiting from these contracts and contractors. But what they won’t tell you is that nearly ALL of these companies are owned, run, by created by retired military officers who have created this niche to bilk the American tax payer of billions of $$$$$$$$$$. probably 90% of contractors are paid three times what they should, and the companies over charge, charge for services never done, and for materials never provided. It is another government money laundering scheme.

      Snowden is a perfect example – His salary was $200,000 a year, yet look at his age (experience) and background. The average private sector computer tech. wouldn’t come close to this kind of salary.

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  2. patebooComment by pateboo
    June 12, 2013 @ 9:45 am

    The truth will come out eventually, it always does. Is there a department in this administration that DOESN’T have a scandal attached to it yet??? Jay Carney is going to have a breakdown one of these days trying to cover up all these lies for Obama, just you wait and see.

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    • sumitchComment by sumitch
      June 12, 2013 @ 10:23 am

      I hope he has his breakdown on TV during one of his so called press conferences so we can watch him flopping around on the floor and foaming at the mouth.

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    • rzraickComment by rzraick
      June 12, 2013 @ 1:01 pm

      Carney flopping around on the floors foaming at the mouth is a fascinating image. I’d like to see that. But he is a professional liar and spin artist. Imagine saying that Clapper was forth coming with his answers when in fact he answered under oath “No” when the truth was “Yes” is not exactly forthcoming. As a matter of fact it is perjury.

      The of course the same old defense of (in the interests of national security….) the excuse used every time they want to lie or cover up the truth.

      I am sick of this.

      So let me express my opinion. There is only one way to fix this. It is through outright revolution. The time when other measures might have worked are long past.

      I am not even saying that a revolution will work. We could have it and lose. But if we don’t have it we will surely lose. Anything less will just be delaying the inevitable.

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    • middlegroundComment by middleground
      June 12, 2013 @ 5:35 pm

      Probably not. And thus far only the obviously political and corrupt “clean energy” scams and theft have been revealed, each one of which exceeds the Teapot Dome scandal that sent the Secretaries of Navy and Interior to prison for life and smeared the Harding Administration with a scandal from which it never recovered. Obama truly is the “teflon” president who has thus far escaped blame for all massive scandals of his administration by just claiming he didn’t know and will correct the problem.

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  3. freethinkerComment by freethinker
    June 12, 2013 @ 9:51 am

    Lets not forget the fact that WE have given the government the authority to spy on us. We keep trading our freedoms away in exchange for “security”. It is not just the liberals who have done this, but ALL those who hold power. The patriot act was yet another example of the government playing on our fears to erode more of our freedoms.
    But the gov. knows what is best for us and we should never question their authority, or good intentions.
    After all it is for ” The Greater Good”.

    It is nice to see the aclu doinng something useful for a change

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    • patriotgirlComment by patriotgirl
      June 12, 2013 @ 10:12 am

      Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters. – Daniel Webster (1782-1852)

      If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy. – James Madison (1751-1836), 4th U.S. President

      It is the duty of the patriot to protect his country from its government. – Thomas Paine (1737-1809)


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    • sumitchComment by sumitch
      June 12, 2013 @ 10:26 am

      It makes me suspicious when the ACLU starts doing something useful.

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    • sdb53Comment by sdb53
      June 12, 2013 @ 10:52 am

      Its not just the Obama administration. Aside from the fact that most of this stuff began under Bush it is the American people and their fevered desire to be “safe” that is the problem. Wear your seat belt so you’ll be safe. Watch our weather report to keep your family safe. Take off your shoes and let the TSA frisk 5 year olds to keep us safe. Require a passport to go to Canada so we’ll be safe. Trust us, we are only keeping data on all of your communication to keep you safe. Safety above all else. Where is Patrick Henry when you need him? To publicly proclaim “give me liberty or give me death” would probably get him placed on a watch list today and make it difficult for him to fly.

      Since 9/11 the phrase land of the brave really doesn’t belong in the Star Spangled Banner anymore. OBL successfully terrorized the American people into turning their backs on the very principles that made us the shining city on a hill, to use St. Ronnie’s expression. We invaded a country that hadn’t attacked us. We tortured people and for 10 years still hold people in indefinite detention without trial. All of which we would have condemned if any other country would have done it. But it was OK because it was necessary to keep us “safe”. Now we have massive government surveillance of innocent Americans, same reason. When did being safe become more important than being free?

      The bumper sticker reads “Freedom isn’t free” and is usually seen on the SUV of some Republican. They think it refers to supporting the troops…no matter what foolish or illegal mission the government sends them on. It goes farther than that. There is some risk involved in living in a free society. Lately it seems Americans have been willing to let the government protect them from any conceivable risk. Maybe Ben Franklin was right. Maybe we don’t deserve to be a free people anymore. We don’t seem to have the stomach for it. What a shame.

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  4. patriotgirlComment by patriotgirl
    June 12, 2013 @ 10:04 am

    What are they suing for? Money?

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    • susieqComment by susieq
      June 12, 2013 @ 10:46 am

      OK, everyone’s bowels are in uproar…but what do we the people do about it?

      I do believe that there is more coming down the pike that will trump what’s known now…

      Do I see more whistleblowers in the immediate future…my crystal ball is getting steamy…

      Yes, what is known now is the tip of the iceberg…what can we the people do about it is the only question that needs to be asked…

      Solutions anyone?

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    • RattlerjakeComment by rattlerjake
      June 12, 2013 @ 10:47 am

      The ACLU doesn’t do anything unless they are heavily compensated for it. I’d say there is something more substantial in it to get the ACLU involves, and this quickly!

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    • patriotgirlComment by patriotgirl
      June 12, 2013 @ 2:12 pm

      Susieq – one suggestion is that we ALL have to quit being either Republican or Democrat! We have to just be Americans and look out for what’s the right thing for our country! Both parties are guilty for selling us down the river in one way or another. Politics as usual consists soley of deal making. In EVERY bill it is loaded with “pork” to scratch this one’s back or another’s. They are looking for either the money the votes, or the power. IT HAS TO STOP! Washington would be shaking in their shoes if we all became “Independent”, in our vote and in our daily thinking from cause to effect!

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  6. empty pocketsComment by empty pockets
    June 12, 2013 @ 11:02 am

    4.8 MILLION people have security clearances. Even if I trusted the ‘gov’t', which I don’t, and even if I trusted this administration and its members, which I REALLY don’t, I’d have to be certifiably brain dead to trust that every single one of those 4.8 million people can be trusted with all my private information. Or be trusted not to access anything without the proper, legal procedure being followed. Even though I’ve done nothing wrong and plan nothing wrong we’ve all seen how merely an accusation—partial and innacurate to the point of being an outright LIE, has destroyed lives.

    The ACLU suing for money or buttons…I don’t care. They will have access to ‘discovery’. Snowden revealed the process, the apparatus. He hasn’t, at least yet, revealed any content that would be harmful to the U.S.

    I know the world is upside down…when I agree with the ACLU.

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  7. Jim ForsytheComment by Jim Forsythe
    June 12, 2013 @ 11:04 am

    I actually agree with the ACLU. The world is upside down.

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  8. joe23006Comment by joe23006
    June 12, 2013 @ 11:33 am

    Instead of being one of a myriad of harrassing suits against people with common sense, they are actually going against the institutions they rely on to do their dirty work! What’s with that?

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  9. patriotoneComment by patriotone
    June 12, 2013 @ 12:06 pm

    Edward Snowden APPEARS to be a hero. By going public about the NSA cellphone and Internet monitoring program, he has alerted the American public about what this up to. We may learn something from the following Quotes: Whenever the people are well-informed,they can be trusted with their own government. (Thomas Jefferson)

    The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be secure, when the actions of their rulers may be concealed from them. (Patrick Henry)
    Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately nothing will preserve it but, downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined. (Patrick Henry)

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  10. freethinkerComment by freethinker
    June 12, 2013 @ 12:51 pm

    Susieq, there are things that can (MUST) be done to start us on the road back to our freedoms. I believe the FIRST and most important, is to rid ourselves of the ruling class of politicians of ALL parties. To do this we must have TERM LIMITS. Second, we must hold our elected representatives accountable for their actions. If they are not doing the job…


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    • middlegroundComment by middleground
      June 12, 2013 @ 6:51 pm

      Putting term limits on politicians merely gives more power to the bureaucrats. We need to outlaw the seniority system in both houses and return to the competent Civil Service employees guaranteed under the 1872 law that founded the Service. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are not the best, but the seniority system puts them in charge.

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  11. patebooComment by pateboo
    June 12, 2013 @ 1:04 pm

    sdb53 9/11, the FIRST one, happened because we got cocky and stupid. We thought we were too big to ever have someone attack us, and especially use our own planes and be trained by us. My late mother said back then that red flags should have gone up when they said they didn’t need to learn how to land. Sometimes things are EXACTLY what they appear to be, and we need to profile in those instances. What the government is doing, THIS GOVERNMENT is doing to us, is suspicious to me because of all the people it’s arming who HATE us. We are cutting back on our defenses while all these other countries are increasing theirs, we have a President who is the biggest and worst illegal of any of them in this country, and every time you turn around he’s connected to another scandal. This is why I don’t buy that all their snooping is for OUR OWN GOOD. I’ve said this many times over the last few years, I’ve never been so scared to be an American in my life, not even since the first 9/11, and I’m not even afraid of the terrorists from other countries as I am of our OWN government.

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  12. p3driverComment by p3driver
    June 12, 2013 @ 1:24 pm

    People, people.
    Everything is all right.
    Read this para from the article, your anxiety will be relieved. I know I was put totally at ease.

    Carney also disputed the contention by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., that Clapper didn’t give “straight answers” on the NSA surveillance effort at a March hearing and said the president “certainly believes that Director Clapper has been straight and direct in the answers that he’s given, and has actively engaged in an effort to provide more information about the programs that have been revealed through the leak of classified information.”

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  13. theronaldComment by theronald
    June 12, 2013 @ 2:03 pm

    This is scary. I think maybe this is the first time I have been in agreement (but surely not 100%) with the ACLU.
    Hmmm……I better read the article again to make sure I havn’t lost my mind.

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  14. moonshineComment by moonshine
    June 12, 2013 @ 4:14 pm

    Wow! What a surprise, the ACLU finally got something right.
    Don’t be fooled by this. Its not about fighting terrorism. Clapper lied because he was concealing the fact that the NSA was spying on American citizens in defiance of the Patriot Act. This spying was authorized by the White House for both political and strategic reasons. Connect the dots, this radical administartion is preparing for a war of oppression against its citizens, and the NSA is its intelligence gathering tool. The IRS on the other hand is the modern day equivalent of the Nazi SS, and you citizens are guilty until proven innocent.
    If you object to trashing the Constitution, having your liberty and freedom stolen and you fight back, then you are a domestic terrorist and an enemy of the state. Sounds like communism doesn’t it? Well it should, because it is.
    These dumb, spineless Republicans must wake up, focus on this reprehensible situation and start impeachment proceedings immediately to remove this totalitarian administration from the White House. If they fail to move ahead now, it may not be possible later without bloodshed.
    The truly sad part is that so few people actually understand or seemingly care about what’s happening to them.

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    • freethinkerComment by freethinker
      June 12, 2013 @ 5:46 pm

      It is not the “dumb, spineless, republicans” who need to wake up, it is the American PEOPLE who need to wake up. The republicans are as much to blame for what is happening to this country as the dems. Like their liberal counterparts, they are more interested in gaining, and maintaining their power, than they are in serving the people. All need to be reminded that they serve at the sufferance of THE PEOPLE.


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  15. middlegroundComment by middleground
    June 12, 2013 @ 6:34 pm

    In the 1980s, I had a 16bit IBM computer running several laboratory instruments and doing data manipulation. It was obviously limited in what it could do because 32 bit and 64 bit machines were already on the drawing board for data crunching, but the data processing division didn’t want the instrument or General Division to intrude on their business with more powerful laboratory computers, and the big mainframes generated most of IBMs revenue in the early 1980s. One of IBMs VPs was sent by IBM’s CEO to see how I was using my mini and I arranged with a friend in Chemistry who was a specialist in lab automation to show him the cutting edge being done by the #2 computer company, Digital Equipment. Later when I met with several additional IBM execs, they expressed this fear felt by the DP division. To which I responded that I couldn’t imagine any corporation dumb or naive enough to allow unlimited remote access to their mainframe database by just anyone anywhere, but I didn’t consider government and sure enough they had people who allowed the downloading of massive amounts of data and remote access on laptops they left to be stolen. The Secretary of State in Oregon even sold a diskette with every Oregon driver’s license, Social Security number and address on it for $10. Contrast that with AT&T labs in the 1980s, which wouldn’t allow me take pictures or record in their Allentown labs. Major oil companies in the 1980s would fire an employee who released information to the employee of another company, but at the VP or CEO level, this same information might be exchanged or sold because at that level they knew the value of the information; however, when the information was no longer yielding revenue, academics were invited to share what had formerly been secret and industry would run courses on coral reefs, sand bodies, porosity etc to move the entire profession and industry forward, knowing full well that a better educated employee would be of more use to them than an employee who learned old knowledge in college. Industries know they have to adapt to remain in business, but governments don’t have to adapt, It is why American Oil companies and some of our computer companies have survived/

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