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Congress Says It’s Okay So It Must Be Okay
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NSA program legal

Summary: After Congress allowed the controversial NSA telephone data collection program to continue with a few alterations, a federal appeals court changed their mind on a previous ruling.

A federal appeals court appears to be confused. In May the court declared the National Security Agency’s bulk telephone metadata collection program was illegal. Then June came around and Congress broke down part of the program by passing the USA Freedom Act, but allowed part of the old methods of collecting data to continue until the law was passed.


But now the same federal appeals court that called the NSA program illegal in May has changed their mind. They ruled on Thursday that the original program can continue as it was. The American Civil Liberties Union had challenged the program’s transition period and whether the program was constitutional.

Congress has said the program is constitutional, so the appeals court says it is too. The USA Freedom Act was supposed to allow for a smooth transition of how the NSA was collecting data for their new “approved” program, but the courts are now going to allow the first program to remain.

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As 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Gerard Lynch states, “An abrupt end to the program would be contrary to the public interest in effective surveillance of terrorist threats, and Congress thus provided a 180-day transition period. Under the circumstances, we will defer to that reasonable decision.”




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