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The Obama administration’s insistence on further delaying a court ruling against the National Security Agency’s telephone surveillance program indicates the government actually was spying on “everyone,” charges a brief by the plaintiffs.
The administration is arguing that immediate compliance with an order to remove a few names and phone numbers from its database would effectively require that it shut down the whole program.
“This is absurd,” charged Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch, who sued the NSA over its telephone monitoring programs on behalf of himself and several others.
“Unequivocally, the public’s interest in combating terrorism is of paramount important for the United States and its citizens,” Klayman acknowledged. “But the notion that after being on notice of their constitutional violations and illegal activity for two years, appellants, with arguably (and hopefully) the highest technological supercomputer in the world, have failed to decipher a way to remove a mere two names or phone numbers from the database, first underscores that the database has never truly served its own purpose, and second, confirms the fact that the appellants have indeed been surveilling everyone.”
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon found the program likely unconstitutional and ordered the government immediately to stop collecting information from several plaintiffs. The Obama administration went to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and asked the judges to delay the order.
Klayman on Thursday filed an argument against the administration’s request.
He noted that the judiciary has found that the loss of freedoms, “for even minimal periods of time, unquestionably constitutes irreparable injury.”
“This loss of constitutional freedoms is precisely what has occurred and is continuing to occur here. The only issue before this court prior to a full appeal is whether removing two names or phone numbers from their supercomputer would irreparable harm appellants. The answer is plainly no.”