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Edward Snowden has Earned Amnesty After Judge Rules Against NSA

Edward Snowden vindicated after judge's ruling.

Edward Snowden vindicated after judge’s ruling.

A federal judge ruled Monday that the National Security Agency program which collects information on nearly all telephone calls made to, from or within the United States is likely unconstitutional. U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon found that the program appears to violate the Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches and seizures. He also said the Justice Department had failed to demonstrate that collecting the information had helped to head off terrorist attacks. [Politico]

APPOINTED BY President George W. Bush, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon granted a preliminary injunction barring the NSA from gathering metadata, which is laid out in a 68-page opinion. It does nothing less than vindicate the motives of Edward Snowden and why he was compelled to put his liberty and his life in danger to expose what the NSA has been doing in secret.

Politico’s Josh Gerstein does the analysis, with a snippet below:

Government lawyers and the judges who found the NSA program legal pointed to a 1979 Supreme Court ruling, Smith v. Maryland, which found no search warrant was needed by police to install a device which recorded the numbers dialed on a particular phone line.

But Leon said the three-decade-old precedent was not applicable to a program like the NSA’s because of its sophistication and because telephone use has become far more intense in recent years.

“The ubiquity of phones has dramatically altered the quantity of information that is now available and, more importantly, what that information can tell the Government about people’s lives,” the judge wrote. “I cannot possibly navigate these uncharted Fourth Amendment waters using as my North Star a case that predates the rise of cell phones.”

Ian Milhiser of Think Progress pulls out one particular paragraph and presses it hard:

[T]he question in this case can more properly be styled as follows: When do present-day circumstances — the evolutions in the Government’s surveillance capabilities, citizens’ phone habits, and the relationship between the NSA and telecom companies — become so thoroughly unlike those considered by the Supreme Court thirty-four years ago that a precedent like Smith simply does not apply? The answer, unfortunately for the Government, is now.

The decision Monday follows another embarrassing media spectacle from CBS. The once venerable television magazine “60 Minutes” taking yet another hit to its credibility, after airing what is being called an “obsequious” bit of reporting delivered by a reporter with deep conflicts of interest, which disclosure doesn’t fix.

[via Huffington Post]

[via Huffington Post]

The NSA should not only “debate” giving Edward Snowden amnesty, but the U.S. government and the Obama administration should grant it, regardless of the State Department’s protest.

The Bush-Obama era debacle perpetrated by the NSA, which would have gone on without Edward Snowden’s bravery, as well as that of Glenn Greenwald and his compatriots, including the Guardian, has now been proven without a doubt to be an unconstitutional overreach by a government that thinks they are above the law.

Somehow, in the midst of such political fecklessness in Washington, I take heart that one determined citizen risked everything to expose what’s going on while we enjoy the country that’s supposed to be a beacon for the world.

It’s a lesson in just how important impartial judicial minds are to the American experiment, which just got a little stronger today.

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12 Responses to Edward Snowden has Earned Amnesty After Judge Rules Against NSA

  1. thoreau December 17, 2013 at 7:02 am #

    60 minutes was the first thing that came to mind when i heard the ruling. i didn’t know they were doing infomercials!
    i appreciate edward snowden’s guts and bravery. he’s a Patriot!

    • Taylor Marsh December 17, 2013 at 8:11 am #

      “60 Minutes” lost the thinking part of the nation this past Sunday. How far the once mighty news magazine show has fallen. What would Mike Wallace say today?

      Patriot, indeed.

      • Solo December 17, 2013 at 9:28 am #

        It shocks me how many people simply refuse to accept the reality of the world they live in. Every major power has a version of the NSA. Do you really think this country could pursue it’s vital national interests just using the information other governments choose to share with us. Every major country spies on every other major country. All this young man is doing is damaging his country and other governments are happy to help him do so.

        • Taylor Marsh December 17, 2013 at 11:27 am #

          Partisans like yourself, no matter the party, are the reason the selection of judges matter more than politicians in our democratic republic.

          It shocks people who care about the idea of privacy that you’re completely oblivious to legalities, but instead prefer partisan patriotism, which is only in the eye of the particular beholders who want to protect either Bush or Obama, Ds or Rs, but care little for civil liberties.

          Not surprising, but you could use a dose of Benjamin Franklin, as could the Obama administration, which is at this very moment attempting to find a fix to an obvious overreach, with the judge staying his own ruling so they can come up with a remedy.

          Then what will you say?

          The Fourth Amendment matters

          • Solo December 17, 2013 at 1:31 pm #

            You might think the word “partisan” is a pejorative but I don’t! Most of this country’s most significant advancements were do to the efforts of partisans! As for my concern about legalities, I care about the 4th amendment but I would never express that concern the way Mr. Snowden has. I wouldn’t infiltrate one of our intelligence agencies steal information and then go overseas and use that information to humiliate and embarass your country. You have a problem with what our government is doing you respond by voting people into office that share that view. Rand Paul, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders all also think the NSA has overreacted but they did decided to leak classified info!

          • Taylor Marsh December 17, 2013 at 11:23 pm #

            You evidently don’t understand the meaning of the word WHISTLEBLOWER or their importance.

            In judicial matters, partisanship has absolutely no place whatsoever.

  2. mjsmith December 17, 2013 at 8:47 am #

    The obvious harm that Snowden and Manning caused could be compared with treason.

    The questions I ask myself, how else would we know what is going on?

    How else would we be able to attempt to stop the harmful activity the government is doing?

    It looks like the NSA and the other agencies are getting amnesty too.

  3. Solo December 17, 2013 at 9:15 am #

    Patriot my a**! Patriots don’t offer to help another country investigate their own country in exchange for political assylum! Which is what Mr. Snowden offered the Brazillians! I guess Mr. Snowden isn’t liking Russia so much!

    • Taylor Marsh December 17, 2013 at 11:31 am #

      Anyone following this story knew a long time ago that Mr. Snowden went to Russia out of desperation, not preference.

      • Solo December 17, 2013 at 11:43 am #

        Mr. Snowden should be apprehended and brought back for trial!

    • whitepaw December 17, 2013 at 6:25 pm #

      B.S. Solo. If this had come to trial under ANY OTHER POTUS than Obama, you would be asking for their head. My guess is that you work for Obama.

      • Solo December 17, 2013 at 10:10 pm #


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