Obama’s Verizon surveillance reveals massive erosion of US civil liberties

Thanks to a secret court and compliant politicians, this administration is running an ever-expanding security state

Jonathan Turley
The Guardian [UK]
6 June 2013

…In February, the administration succeeded in blocking a challenge to its surveillance policies by arguing that any confirmation of such programs would put American lives at risk. Now that the case is dismissed, they have simply acknowledged the program. The decision is Clapper v Amnesty International, No 11-1025 (pdf), and it is a true nightmare for civil liberties. The supreme court rejected the standing of civil liberties groups and citizens to challenge the Obama administration’s surveillance programs.

President Obama has long been criticized for his opposition to such lawsuits and his Justice Department has continued a successful attack on the ability of citizens to challenge the unconstitutional actions of their government in the war on terror. The 5-4 opinion by Justice Samuel A Alito Jr insulates such programs from judicial review in yet another narrowing of standing rules.

Alito rejected the ability of an array of journalists, lawyers and human rights advocates to challenge the constitutionality of the 2008 law allowing secret surveillance without meeting constitutional standards of probable cause. Alito simply said that the parties could not prove that they were subject to surveillance – since the Obama administration has classified such evidence – and insisted that their fears and precautionary actions are merely efforts to “manufacture standing by incurring costs in anticipation of non-imminent harms”.

Alito wrote that just because no one may be able to challenge the law is no reason to recognize standing – a position that guts the separation of powers principles underlying judicial review…

…Now we can see the inevitable consequence of this secret court and the administration’s surveillance program…

The complete article is at The Guardian.


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Related articles also at The Guardian:

Revealed: UK gathering intelligence via NSA

On whistleblowers and government threats of investigation by Glenn Greenwald

No healthy democracy can endure when the most consequential acts of those in power remain secret and unaccountable

Obama orders US to draw up cyber target list – full document text

NSA: surveillance giant with eyes all over America

NSA Prism program taps in to user data of Apple, Google and others

US invokes special privilege to stop scrutiny

Obama defiant over NSA revelations ahead of summit with Chinese premier

Obama faces hypocrisy charges at China summit


Also, an op-ed by Senator Rand Paul, NSA’s Verizon surveillance: how the White House tramples our constitution   Senator Obama once showed great concern to safeguard US freedoms. But as president, he rides roughshod over liberty.

…There is always a balance between security and liberty and the American tradition has long been to err on the side of liberty. America’s founders feared a government powerful enough to commit unreasonable searches and seizures and crafted a constitution designed to protect citizens’ privacy…

…If the president and Congress would simply obey the fourth amendment, this new shocking revelation that the government is now spying on citizens’ phone data en masse would never have happened…


Read the whole thing.


UpdateReport: Internet spying foiled planned ’09 attack on Subway Update: Public documents contradict claims

…A secret U.S. intelligence program to collect emails that is at the heart of an uproar over government surveillance helped foil an Islamist militant plot to bomb the New York City subway system in 2009, U.S. government sources said on Friday….



And, Alan Dershowitz calls Glenn Greenwald a liar.




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