ACLU Sues Obama Administration Over NSA Surveillance

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ACLU Sues Obama Administration Over NSA Surveillance

The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the Obama administration over the National Security Administration's massive phone data collection program, USA Today reports. In its lawsuit, the ACLU said the program that harvests phone calls violates the rights of all Americans. "The program goes far beyond even the permissive limits set by the Patriot Act and represents a gross infringement of the freedom of association and the right to privacy," said Jameel Jaffer, the ACLU's deputy legal director. Meanwhile, Google sought permission to disclose more details about another contested NSA program, one that allows the government to collect online information from non-U.S. citizens. Additionally, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, told reporters she has asked Gen. Keith Alexander -- the head of the NSA and U.S. Cyber Command -- to declassify more information about its phone and Internet surveillance programs. The goal is "so that we can talk about them, because I think they're really helpful," she said. President Obama and aides have defended the programs, saying they have helped prevent terrorist attacks and are subject to oversight by Congress and a special (and secret) court. "They make a difference in our capacity to anticipate and prevent possible terrorist activity," Obama said, also citing "strict supervision by all three branches of government. ... They do not involve listening to people's phone calls, do not involve reading the e-mails of U.S. citizens or U.S. residents absent further action by a federal court that is entirely consistent with what we would do, for example, in a criminal investigation."


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