A federal judge on Friday found that the National Security Agency's bulk collection of millions of Americans' telephone records is legal and a valuable part of the nation's arsenal to counter the threat of terrorism, reported Associated Press today.
U.S. District Judge William Pauley said in a written opinion that the program ‘represents the government's counter-punch’ to eliminate al-Qaida's terror network by connecting fragmented and fleeting communications.
In ruling, the judge noted the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and how the phone data-collection system could have helped investigators connect the dots before the attacks occurred.
The ruling dismisses a suit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union against James Clapper, the director of the NSA, and the Justice Department.
‘We are pleased with the decision,’ Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr said. The ACLU did not have an immediate response.
This ruling comes in direct opposition to Judge Richard Leon’s ruling Dec.16 in which he wrote in his opinion, ‘I cannot imagine a more 'indiscriminate' and 'arbitrary invasion' than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval,’ said Leon. ‘Surely, such a program infringes on 'that degree of privacy' that the Founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment.’
Judge Pauley’s ruling today views that, ‘the government learned from its mistake and adapted to confront a new enemy: a terror network capable of orchestrating attacks across the world. It launched a number of counter-measures, including a bulk telephony metadata collection program — a wide net that could find and isolate gossamer contacts among suspected terrorists in an ocean of seemingly disconnected data.’
Federal Court Judge Leon views that the NSA metadata collection is in question as to how it prevented terrorist attacks. Judge Pauley's ruling today in Manhattan Federal Court offered an opinion in that the collection allowed the NSA to have a 'wide net' to be able to collect what would not be previously known.
This leaves the score NSA -1 ACLU & 4th Amendment - 1.