SEATTLE — The New York Times reported that the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration over its “dragnet” collection of logs of domestic calls.
The Times said the ACLU contends that the “once-secret program — whose existence was exposed by a former National Security Agency contractor last week — is illegal” and is requesting a judicial order to stop the practice and have the records “purged.”
Edward Snowden’s — the former NSA contractor who leaked the records — and his actions will be in the spotlight throughout the case as his disclosure of not only phone logs that the government was collecting, but also the disclosure of other top secret surveillance information, the paper reported.
The Times said the lawsuit was filed in New York, but it could end up being heard by the Supreme Court.
The ACLU said the program “gives the government a comprehensive record of our associations and public movements, revealing a wealth of detail about our familial, political, professional, religious and intimate associations,” the complaint says, adding that it “is likely to have a chilling effect on whistle-blowers and others who would otherwise contact” the ACLU for legal assistance, the Times reported.
The Justice Department has not responded at this time.
While the ACLU has worked with other plantiffs in challenging national security, those cases have generally been dismissed by the courts at the government’s behest, citing the threat of exposing national secrets or that plantiffs could not prove such actions personally affected them, the paper said.
However, this case could be different than previous cases since the government has “declassified the existence of the program on domestic call record ‘metadata’.”
The ACLU is a customer of Verizon Business Network Services — the subsidiary of Verizon Communications that was the recipient of a secret court order for all its domestic calling records — which it says gives it direct standing to bring the lawsuit, the Times reported.
For the complete New York Times story, go here.