Monday, July 8

34 Days

Hard to believe but it's only been 34 days since the first of Edward Snowden's revelations were published in the Washington Post and Guardian.  It seems much longer because there's been one revelation after another that branches into complex interlocking issues.  Then the Obama administration has made one mess after another in response to the revelations.  The public is experiencing cognitive whiplash in the process of trying to sort it all out. 

So while I sympathize with Philip Ewing's lament in the July 5 Politico,  Edward Snowden’s nightmare comes true -- the nightmare being that after all his revelations, "nothing will change" -- he needs to keep in mind that it's early days. 

Just this morning, Politico published a report that Ed's revelations about the NSA are impacting congressional privacy legislation. There have been many Americans laboring for years on the issue, to no avail, and now they finally have the wind at their backs.

Also this morning USA Today quoted a New York Times story about the mounting legal challenges to the NSA programs:

The Obama administration will also have to defend its National Security Agency surveillance programs in court. A privacy rights group plans to ask the Supreme Court on Monday to stop the NSA phone surveillance program that collects the telephone records of millions of Americans.

It's the latest in a string of lawsuits over NSA activities.

The Obama team is also under political fire for the phone and Internet surveillance programs operated by the NSA, details of which have been leaked by former government contractor Edward Snowden.

From The New York Times:
The group, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, says it is taking the extraordinary legal step of going directly to the Supreme Court because the sweeping collection of the phone records of American citizens has created 'exceptional circumstances' that only the nation's highest court can address.

The group, based in Washington, also said it was taking its case to the Supreme Court because it could not challenge the legality of the N.S.A. program at the secret court that approved it, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, known as the FISA court, and because lower federal courts did not have the authority to review the secret court's orders.

In its petition, the group said the FISA court had 'exceeded its statutory jurisdiction when it ordered production of millions of domestic telephone records that cannot plausibly be relevant to an authorized investigation.'


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