Whatever your opinion of Edward Snowden, the shockwaves from his leaks of classified material continue to roil all three branches of the federal government.
The latest wave broke last week when the United States Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit held in ACLU v. Clapper that the National Security Agency’s mass telephone metadata collection program, which has been in place for a decade or more, is not authorized by Section 215 of the Patriot Act, and is therefore illegal. Public awareness of that program came to light in June 2013, and only when the newspaper The Guardian published a leaked order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (“FISC”) requiring Verizon to produce to the NSA “on an ongoing daily basis . . . all call detail records or ‘telephony metadata’ created by Verizon for communications (i) between the United States and abroad; or (ii) wholly within the United States, including local telephone calls.” It has since become clear that such FISC orders have been issued to virtually all major telephone carriers in the United States.
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