Lv 4
Kyle asked in Politics & GovernmentPolitics · 8 years ago

Why do some people claim the NSA phone tracking is legal?

There have been several court cases where the courts declared it illegal and unconstitutional.


-Al-Haramain charity case

-Clapper vs Amnesty International

-Secret FISA Case

In these four cases, the courts ruled what the NSA was doing as illegal and/or unconstitutional. In the first three cases, the decision was reversed on appeals not on the content. It was reversed because of the legal principle that somebody standing had to bring the case. Meaning the Court asked them how they were effected by this rule. But the plaintiffs couldn't prove they were effected because they couldn't prove they were spied upon. Now because of Edward Snowden's leak, we now know we were all spied upon.So when politicians try to say "Don't worry about it, I checked with the courts", well you checked with the courts and they largely said no, you got off on a legal technicality, that you no longer have the protection of.

Even the Director of National Intelligence admitted what the NSA done was "Unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment."

We shouldn't simply assume Snowden's disclosures are about a controversial but legal NSA program, as NSA defenders and Obama loyalists assert. Instead it's quite possible they may help definitively prove the illegality of the surveillance operations.


@Heretic, The courts disagree with that argument.

Update 2:

@itsme, How about you read the court rulings from recent years, instead of bringing up a ruling that happened 50 years ago? I have linked the official Supreme Court decision, what you decide to do with that information is on you. However, it's clear that the phone tracking isn't illegal, as all 4 courts have declared it illegal. Who is truly the dumb person? The person who has done his research and read the court's decisions or the person who disagrees with all 4 courts, without any legal reasoning, other than "I disagree because I like Obama".

Update 3:

*it's clear the phone tracking IS illegal.

12 Answers

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    That may be the government's checkmate in this debacle. The courts have established what is self-evident; someone will have to prove they have personally been negatively affected by these actions.

    If this can't be demonstrated, then what is the harm of the actions?

    It is an interesting legal/philosophical dilemma.

    None of us wants to be monitored constantly, whether we are doing anything wrong or not. I don't want you standing on the street watching me watch TV or eat dinner with my family, so I have window shades and curtains. We aren't doing anything wrong, and you wouldn't be harming me in anyway I could demonstrate, but still yet I take measures to prevent that from happening.

  • 5 years ago


    Source(s): Reverse Cell Phone Lookup :
  • 8 years ago

    Because there is a difference between statutory and constitutional law. A statute is a law written in a certain way, sometimes very specific. For example, one could write a statutory law to say, "The NSA can tap the phone of whomever they want." Obama could sign that bill and it would the law of the land. However, the 4th amendment says that any violation of privacy must be secured with a warrant and have probable cause. So, if the NSA only used their powers to tap those people with whom they had a warrant issued by a judge, then they would be obeying the 4th amendment.

    Apparently, however, it seems that they have been tapping the content and not the "meta data" of all calls and emails and passing this through a supercomputer to be analyzed. They have also been storing them for review in the future, so they can go back.

    The NSA thinks that they aren't really listening into the call, because the computer is doing that. And supposedly they wait until a judge orders them to do that.

    However Snowden released proof that it was quite easy for anyone to listen in or read emails of anyone without a warrant. So this is contradicting what the NSA has been saying for years. It also contradicts what Obama has been saying.

    Source(s): studied law for 3 years. Knew someone who worked on the NSA program and at the time I heard it, it sounded like a 4th amendment violation to me, but I said nothing.
  • 8 years ago

    Because the records are already collected and stored by the phone service providers. Some see it that since the records are already being stored by the providers that there is nothing wrong with those records being transferred to the NSA for storage and sifting. @ADD- I know they do, but you have sort of a civil war of courts going on right now. FISA says it's legal, others say it's not. I lean toward the "not legal" but I think we're stuck with it.

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  • 8 years ago

    I love dumb people :

    A Supreme Court ruling from 1979 in Smith v. Maryland allowed the police to obtain a list of phone numbers without a warrant, because it found it was not a violation of the 4th Amendment. Under the current NSA program, the government asserts it is not intentionally targeting "any U.S. citizen, any other U.S. person, or anyone located" in the U.S.

    The order allows the NSA to collect information from Verizon without individual warrants because the information is defined as "metadata" rather than communications. The order was issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, whose proceedings typically remain hidden.

    In regard to PRISM, the program allows access to both live communications and stored data from users outside the U.S. or users within the U.S. communicating to others outside the U.S, using surveillance orders issued by FISA judges under the Bush administration.

  • bey
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Why, precisely, might want to the authorities be monitoring your telephone calls? Are you a international secret agent? Are you a terrorist? Are you a drug broking service? if you're doing no longer some thing incredibly risky and/or unlawful I incredibly doubt the authorities has the time or pastime on your telephone calls.

  • MDez
    Lv 5
    8 years ago

    good question. makes me think people don't care to read the constitution in which you can clearly see this is illegal. the constitution is the law of the land. the patriot act is a bill not an amendment, which makes it an illegal law because it doesn't follow guidelines set forth by our constitution.

    Source(s): constitution & supremacy clause
  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    It was legal when the US government was lying. Now its not yet they still defend it. There is no more rule of law in this country. Just look at Clapper scratch his head and lie under oath. Look at Holder lie under oath. No justice in the country anymore.

  • John
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    But its still being used. Obama and the leaders of Congress believe its a good thing.

  • 8 years ago

    Because now Obama is president and it be racist to suggest that anything Obama do is wrong.

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