NSA to AT&T customers who believe wiretapping violates their rights: neener neener neener

Courthouse News Service has an extensive explainer on the state of a legal battle between The National Security Agency and a group of non-terrorist AT&T customers who claim that warrantless wiretapping violates their rights. The short version: NSA argues it is immune from their federal lawsuit because REASONS.


  1. So, illegal wiretapping is actually legal if the victim/perpetrator is indeed doing something illegal. However, proving guilt is impossible due to the secretive nature of how the illegal wiretapping is conducted.

    Now which ones are upholding the values of freedom again?

  2. In the short version when you put REASONS in all caps are you implying that there aren’t any reasons, that there are but they’re dumb, or did they literally do that too? What kind of point are the REASONS caps trying to make?

    1. If you’ll forgive me for answering your question seriously rather than with a joke: REASONS in this context often means “unspecified reasons”, but it can also mean “spurious reasons”, which is what Xeni’s getting at here. In this case, the reasons given by the Director of National Intelligence for why they’re immune are essentially “because we said that the only people who were wiretapped were making international calls and were suspected of being terrorists” and “because telling anyone details of the wiretapping programme would harm national security”. In terms of a court case, “I’m not guilty of doing anything wrong because I told you so, but I can’t tell you exactly what I did” isn’t normally grounds to close a case, hence the ridicule.

    2.  The long version of the NSA lawyer argument are:
      1.) you can’t claim that we’re doing anything illegal because,
      2.) any information that “we” were to release to confirm or deny that we are doing anything illegal is super secret and,
      3.) releasing said information would reveal NSA methods as well as active targets of the investigation,
      4.) which you cannot confirm the plaintif, your brother, your mom, or any other American citizen was an active target because,
      (start back at 2 and repeat)

      A physicist would argue that the wiretapping is both illegal AND legal until you open the box in the Folsom Street facility in San Francisco.  The NSA uncertainty principal?

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