The United States’ National Security Agency has been a source of controversy ever since former employee Edward Snowden leaked details behind the government organization’s phone spying program, raising questions about individual privacy and safety as well as government transparency.
In response to Snowden’s leaks, conservative activist and Freedom Watch founder Larry Klayman filed a lawsuit against the NSA in June. In a recent ruling by a U.S. District Court, Judge Richard Leon found that the organization’s phone spying program violates the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which protects individuals from unreasonable searches without the use of a warrant.
Leon wrote in the case’s ruling that the NSA’s collection of data is analogous to an unlawful search of an individual.
“I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary invasion’ than this systemic 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,” Leon wrote.
The common argument in support of the NSA’s phone-spying program is that it protects the collective public from the possibility of a terrorist attack. In Judge Leon’s ruling, he claimed that he didn’t believe this explanation was justifiable, especially considering the lack of evidence that the program has actually prevented an attack thus far.
“I have serious doubts about the efficacy of the metadata collection program as a means of conducting time-sensitive investigations in cases involving imminent threats of terrorism,” he said.
According to the Huffington Post, Klayman’s suit against the Obama administration is yet another ploy in order to get the commander-in-chief out of office. Klayman has flirted with religiously-charged remarks in several of his anti-Obama speeches, including a Veteran’s Day rally in which he alluded that he believed Obama to be Muslim when he urged his followers “to demand that this president leave town, to get up, to put the Quran down, to get up off his knees, and to figuratively come up with his hands out.”
It has not yet been reported how the lawsuit will advance through the courts, but this is likely the first victory in a lengthy series of legal battles being waged by Klayman.