The U.S. doesn’t have to disclose the telecommunications companies helping it collect phone call records or turn over a secret surveillance court’s orders, a federal judge ruled, saying the information would reveal methods used in terrorism investigations.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco-based civil liberties advocacy group, sued under the Freedom of Information Act for access to information on the government phone record collection program. The group argued the government confirmed the participation of telecommunications companies in the National Security Agency’s surveillance program after the existence of the program was leaked.
NSA surveillance programs, disclosed by former security contractor Edward Snowden, are being challenged in a number of lawsuits. EFF’s lawsuit, which preceded the Snowden leaks, was filed on the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Patriot Act, passed after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The collection of information relevant to a federal investigation, when authorized by a secret court, is allowed under a statute in the act. The EFF freedom of information lawsuit sought secret court orders from 2005, 2006 and 2008 to learn more about what the government was collecting and the legal justification for it…
U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in Oakland, California, today said declassification of general information about the call-record collection program didn’t justify forcing the government to reveal the companies’ names to EFF. Disclosing orders of the Washington-based Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court could provide a road map for targets to evade surveillance, she said in her ruling…
The judge accepts every lie, every blanket rationale our government uses to defend spying on all of us. That doesn’t take courage. That takes obedience. That takes complicity.
Telecommunication companies were granted immunity by Congress in 2008 from privacy lawsuits over surveillance programs.
Understand the arrogant creeps who demanded this law be passed. Inhale the bipartisan stink of spineless Democrats and paranoid Republicans who passed this law.
The whole so-called Patriot Act is structured to conceal collaborators in the loss of our constitutional freedoms. We not haven’t the right to know who is complicit – there can be no whistleblowers. If your personal banker tells you the Feds have snooped through your bank account, he is breaking the law. If some cop who went to high school with you tells you over a beer the Feds want to know who plays baseball with your kids, he is breaking the law. Cripes, I imagine your dentist can be asked to put a gps tracker in your new crown – and he would be breaking the law if he refused.
Obama’s vision of constitutional freedoms are as distorted by fear and arrogance as Dick Cheney and George W. Bush. Tiny differences of degree and interpretation are meaningless compared to what we have lost.