The ACLU has gone to court to stop the government from collecting the phone records of everybody. The government has asked the judge to trust the “national security experts” when they say that they are doing this only to combat terrorism and not to poke into the lives of ordinary people. The judge heard the case last Friday.
The NSA only uses the massive treasure trove of phone information for counter-terrorism investigations, not to look into the lives of everyday Americans, Stuart Delery said. The data helps the feds “find connections between known and unknown terrorists,” he told Manhattan federal court Judge William Pauley.
The American Civil Liberties Union had filed suit seeking to get the program pulled, charging it infringes on Americans’ right to privacy.
If Pauley were to let the policy — revealed earlier this year by leaker extraordinaire Edward Snowden — remain in place, it could open the door for more intrusive actions by the government, argued ACLU lawyer Jameel Jaffer.
The ACLU recommended the judge taken a common-sense approach. “Most Americans would be shocked if strangers were collecting this information, and would not be reassured by their assertion they’re not reviewing them,” said another of their lawyers, Alex Abdo.
The government has a real nerve to make this ‘trust us’ argument when we now have documentary evidence that they are serial secretive deceivers. But having said that, I cannot see the judge ruling against the government. Many of them are terrified by the prospect that they will be accused of weakening the war on terrorism and will be blamed for any attack that may occur in the future, even if that attack could not have been prevented by these spying programs.