A U.S. judge has concluded that the National Security Agency’s sweeping collection of telephone data is lawful, rejecting a challenge by the American Civil Liberties Union to the program.
U.S. District Judge William Pauley in Manhattan on Friday said there was no evidence that the government had used any of the so-called “bulk telephony metadata” it had collected for any reason other than to investigate and disrupt terrorist attacks.
You can read the ruling here (pdf).
There’s a lot there to digest, none of it good news for privacy advocates from the parts I’ve skimmed so far. Of note, Judge Pauley found that Congress had ratified the Section 215 program as interpreted by the Executive Branch when they reauthorized FISA after having the opportunity to review a classified document that noted that it required the collection of “substantially all” telephone calls. The judge noted that not all members of the House had read the document, but concluded that the Executive branch has fulfilled its obligation by providing the memo.
So… we have members of Congress to thank for failing to read what they could have read? Would they have blocked the reauthorization of FISA had they been paying more attention?