U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor on Thursday ruled in a Detroit, Mich., court that the National Security Agency’s (NSA) controversial, warrantless wiretapping program violates privacy and freedom of speech protections provided under the Constitution, and ordered that the government cease all surveillance related to it immediately, the Associated Press reports via CNN.com.
Taylor is the first justice to rule against the NSA and its spying program, according to CNN.com.
The lawsuit was originally filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on the part of reporters, attorneys, academics and other business people who said the surveillance program was hindering their ability to perform international business transactions due to the foreign parties’ hesitance to communicate via phone or other means. Part of the NSA’s widely criticized program was to wiretap lines to intercept international phone calls.
The U.S. government defended the NSA’s actions, claiming the president had the authority needed to perform such surveillance activities in the name of fighting terrorism. It also failed to provide additional information about the program’s specifics when requested because it said such details could compromise state secrets, according to CNN.com.
The ACLU dismissed the state secrets arguments, saying that the Bush administration had already publicly disclosed enough information to prove that its actions were unconstitutional, CNN.com reports.
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