Seven years after the former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the mass surveillance of Americans' telephone records, an appeals court has found the program was unlawful – and that the US intelligence leaders who publicly defended it were not telling the truth.
In a ruling handed down on Wednesday, the US court of appeals for the ninth circuit said the warrantless telephone dragnet that secretly collected millions of Americans' telephone records violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and may well have been unconstitutional.
Not that this matters — if Snowden came back to the US tomorrow, he'd certainly still be thrown in prison.
I'm surprised this hasn't been picked up as bigger news, either by civil libertarians or anyone concerned about data privacy; or, perhaps more surprisingly, from the right-wing propaganda circuit that's been desperately trying to smear the FBI's use of FISA during one of several investigations into relationships between the Trump campaign and Russian State actors.
Still, it's nice to see the 9th circuit acknowledge something that should have been plainly obvious from the start.
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