Fight heats up as pro­gram winds down

The Washington Times Weekly - - National -

gen­eral, said in an emer­gency re­quest. “That is so be­cause the tech­ni­cal steps re­quired in or­der to pre­vent the fur­ther col­lec­tion of and to seg­re­gate the me­ta­data as­so­ci­ated with par­tic­u­lar per­sons’ calls would take the NSA months to com­plete.”

The fierce fight comes even though the NSA pro­gram has only a few more weeks left any­way.

Congress ear­lier this year passed the USA Free­dom Act, set­ting a Nov. 29 dead­line for the gov­ern­ment to end its bulk col­lec­tion un­der the Pa­triot Act and the For­eign In­tel­li­gence Sur­veil­lance Act.

That makes the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s stance all the more strik­ing: It is fever­ishly bat­tling to keep afloat for just three weeks a pro­gram that Pres­i­dent Obama him­self has said is not nec­es­sary and that the NSA is al­ready work­ing to wind down.

Judge Leon, mean­while, said that even with that end-of-month dead­line loom­ing, he felt com­pelled to de­fend Amer­i­cans’ Fourth Amend­ment rights from gov­ern­ment over­reach.

“It makes no dif­fer­ence that this vi­o­la­tion now has a fore­see­able end,” he wrote in the 43-page opin­ion, adding that he wouldn’t al­low the gov­ern­ment to run out the clock or shroud it­self in se­crecy to try to jus­tify an in­fringe­ment of Amer­i­cans’ Fourth Amend­ment rights. “This Court sim­ply can­not, and will not, al­low the Gov­ern­ment to trump the Con­sti­tu­tion merely be­cause it suits the ex­i­gen­cies of the mo­ment.”

In his rul­ing he or­dered the agency to stop col­lect­ing records of lawyer Jef­frey James Lit­tle and his Cal­i­for­nia law firm, J.J. Lit­tle and As­so­ciates, and to seg­re­gate their ex­ist­ing records from the rest of the mas­sive data­base the NSA has built up over the years of Amer­i­cans’ phone call me­ta­data.

The rul­ing was the lat­est twist in a case brought by Larry Klay­man, a con­ser­va­tive lawyer who is try­ing to halt the phones­noop­ing pro­gram and seek­ing $20 mil­lion in dam­ages from the gov­ern­ment.

Judge Leon first ruled in De­cem­ber 2013 that the NSA pro­gram was likely un­con­sti­tu­tional, but he stayed his own

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