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Constitutional Judge Cripples NSA Phone Spying

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Judge Richard Leon

Judge Richard Leon

by Charlie savage, The New York Times

A federal judge on Monday partly blocked the National Security Agency’s program that systematically collects Americans’ domestic phone records in bulk just weeks before the agency was scheduled to shut it down and replace it. The judge said the program was most likely unconstitutional.

In a separate case challenging the program, a federal appeals court in New York on October 30th had declined to weigh in on the constitutional issues, saying it would be imprudent to interfere with an orderly transition to a replacement system after November 29th.

But on Monday, in a 43-page ruling, Judge Richard J. Leon of United States District Court for the District of Columbia wrote that the constitutional issues were too important to leave unanswered in the history of the program, which traces back to after the September 11th terrorist attacks and came to light in 2013 in leaks by Edward J. Snowden, the former intelligence contractor.

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© 2015 The New York Times

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