Foolish Judge Ignores Advice of Senators, Says NSA Metadata Collection Is Illegal

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Dec. 16 2013 3:03 PM

Foolish Judge Ignores Advice of Senators, Says NSA Metadata Collection Is Illegal

170033750
Who needs judges when you've got Dianne Feinstein and Saxby Chambliss?

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Conservative legal activist Larry Klayman sued to stop the NSA from collecting his metadata, and in district court he's sort of just won the case. Judge Richard Leon, who rules against the program while staying his own injuction (national security reasons, and all that), explains:

I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary invasion’ than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying it and analyzing it without judicial approval.
Advertisement

Yes, but for months now, members of the House and Senate intel committees have been saying otherwise. Just for starters, soon to be updated:

This is nothing particularly new. This has been going on for seven years under the auspices of the (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) authority and every member of the United States Senate has been advised of this.

- Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss, June 6.

These programs, that are authorized by the court by the way, only focused on non-United States persons overseas, that gets lost in this debate, are pieces of the puzzle. And you have to have all of the pieces of the puzzle to try to put it together.

- Michigan Rep. Mike Rogers, June 9.

These programs are legal, transparent and contain the appropriate checks and balances among the executive, legislative and judicial branches of our government.

- New York Rep. Peter King, Aug. 9.

The NSA call-records program is legal and subject to extensive congressional and judicial oversight. 

- California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Oct. 20.

With all the criticism leveled at these programs, it is important that we first not forget that these men and women are doing what we have told them to do, within the confines of the laws we’ve passed, and doing so to keep us safe.

- Maryland Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, Oct. 30.

Thanks to Emma Roller for collecting a bunch of these.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Cheez-Its. Ritz. Triscuits.

Why all cracker names sound alike.

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

The Afghan Town With a Legitimately Good Tourism Pitch

A Futurama Writer on How the Vietnam War Shaped the Series

  News & Politics
Photography
Sept. 21 2014 11:34 PM People’s Climate March in Photos Hundreds of thousands of marchers took to the streets of NYC in the largest climate rally in history.
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 22 2014 9:39 AM Adrian Peterson Has a Terrible Contract, and Cutting Him Would Save the Vikings a Lot of Money
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 22 2014 9:12 AM What Is This Singaporean Road Sign Trying to Tell Us?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Science
Sept. 22 2014 8:08 AM Slate Voice: “Why Is So Much Honey Clover Honey?” Mike Vuolo shares the story of your honey.
  Arts
Television
Sept. 21 2014 9:00 PM Attractive People Being Funny While Doing Amusing and Sometimes Romantic Things Don’t dismiss it. Friends was a truly great show.
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 7:47 AM Predicting the Future for the U.S. Government The strange but satisfying work of creating the National Intelligence Council’s Global Trends report.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 22 2014 5:30 AM MAVEN Arrives at Mars
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.