In fact, NSA and Justice department just got themselves into a pickle according to the articles - editorial in Washington Post "Big Brother’s lies" and in New York Times "Warrantless Surveillance Continues to Cause Fallout". In fact, both articles are dealing with the same issue that - using warrantless wiretapping and lies cover it up create more problems than to solve.
In the first article Washington Post editors wrote
Public trust in the federal government is at a record low.... The National Security Agency, for example, has been keeping tabs on where we go and when, listens to our telephone calls and reads our emails. If it wants, it could listen to a conversation with Granny, and let us know when we need to stop at the 7-Eleven for a quart of milk. Such all-knowing surveillance is supposed to thwart terrorism. Everyone wants to stop terrorism, so what’s wrong with a little surveillance?How, did Washington Post learn about it -- from a a friend of the court brief filed by US Senators Mark Udall of Colorado, Ron Wyden of Oregon and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico in support of a coalition of two-dozen groups suing the National Security Agency to stop the eavesdropping.
Except that it’s simply not true that the NSA programs thwart crime
Now we learn that the administration exaggerated the success story by counting every case in which a captured terrorist might have used a cellphone. “Of the original 54 that the government pointed to,” the senators said, “officials have only been able to describe two that involved materially useful information obtained through the bulk call-records program.” The senators think those two remaining cases could have been solved without blanket surveillance. It’s not possible to say what’s true and what’s not as long as the relevant information remains locked in the top-secret vaults at the various intelligence agencies.In the second article Charles Savage of the New York Times wrote
The Justice Department has notified a Somali-American man who was convicted this year of trying to detonate a bomb in Portland, Ore., that his trial included evidence derived from warrantless wiretapping, a move that could disrupt plans to sentence him next month.What even more complicates the problem that this year the Supreme Court rejected a challenge to the constitutionality of such eavesdropping by Amnesty International on the grounds that the plaintiffs could not prove that their communications had been intercepted under the law. While it should have been logically obvious that burden of proof should have been on NSA to provide evidence that it did not have the particular numbers in its databases (if that would be any other case plaintiffs could have subpoenaed relative defender's records). The court position is clearly hypocritical - as it seen from Justice Alito arguments on behalf of conservative majority "
Three United States senators [Senators Mark Udall, Ron Wyden and Martin Heinrich] also sent a letter on Tuesday to Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. accusing the government of misrepresenting surveillance policy to the Supreme Court in a case last year.
this is mere speculation, and respondents have no evidence that their communications have been monitored under Section 1881a, or specific facts to show that communications of respondents' foreign contacts will be targeted, since, even if respondents could demonstrate that targeting of their foreign contacts is imminent, they can only speculate as to whether government will seek to use Section 1881a-authorized surveillance, rather than other methodsAdditionally, as the Times article explains
The Justice Department had urged the Supreme Court to reject that case. It said the law would still be subject to judicial review, because criminal defendants facing evidence derived from warrantless surveillance would be notified of that fact and have standing to challenge it.Thus now it is obvious that NSA snooping is just a first step that is followed by the "travesty of a mockery of a sham" judicial process.
But it has since emerged that it was not the practice of National Security Division prosecutors to tell defendants when warrantless wiretapping had led to evidence in a case, something Mr. Verrilli had not known at the time of the Supreme Court case, even though his briefs and arguments assuring the justices otherwise had been vetted by the division. After the discrepancy came to light, Mr. Verrilli fought an internal battle to bring department policy in line with what he had told the court, ultimately prevailing.
It is becoming more and more clear to the Congress and Courts that something has to be done about NSA spying. However, as another NY Times article Congress and Courts Weigh Restraints on N.S.A. Spying comments
The intensifying push against the N.S.A. on both the legal and legislative fronts reflected new pressure being put on the extensive surveillance effort in the wake of revelations by the former N.S.A. contractor Edward J. Snowden, pressure that is running into stiff resistance from congressional leaders of both parties as well as the Obama administration.We need to keep this pressure or to say our civil liberties goodbye. Please us help by signing petitions to the Congress and White House, send a message to you friends urging them to sign the petitions before its too late. After the our rights and liberties gone it will be more difficult if not impossible to get them back.