“EPIC truly believes that this Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court exceeded it’s authority, is not acting in accordance with the law and needs to be overturned — and cannot be allowed to continue conducting this surveillance. ” - Amie Stepanovich, Director of the Domestic Surveillance Project at Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has officially petitioned the Supreme Court to vacate the FISC ruling authorizing the NSA to operate mass surveillance programs domestically. A prior petition (it's not too late to sign) effort by the center back on June 17th aimed directly at the NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander and DoD Secretary Chuck Hagel received no response. (as far as I know)
To me, the fact that the Department of Defense is apparently involved with these domestic surveillance programs is even more disturbing than finding out the NSA is involved.
The announcement was made Thursday at a Restore the Fourth rally in Washington, DC — one of many public events around the country organized to protest the various surveillance programs revealed in recent NSA leaks. In an exclusive comment to ThinkProgress after the announcement, Stepanovich said “EPIC truly believes that this Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court exceeded it’s authority, is not acting in accordance with the law and needs to be overturned — and cannot be allowed to continue conducting this surveillance. ”"Restore the Fourth" on the Fourth of July... brilliant! I hope it was as successful as they hoped it would be.
EPIC's previous petitions challenged the NSA not only on Fourth Amendment grounds but also because they believe the agency violated the Administrative Procedure Act by implementing what EPIC considered a legislative rule that [without public comment...]
“... substantively affects the public to a degree sufficient to implicate the policy interests animating notice-and-comment rulemaking.”The ACLU and the EFF both also have legal challenges pending before the courts. (respectively here and here)
The EFF lawsuit has been ongoing since 2005, having been amended at various times as the administrations changed. The ACLU's lawsuit differs from EPIC's in that instead of suing the NSA on Fourth amendment grounds, it's using the First Amendment as basis for its suit, saying the agency's dragnet program exceeds the authority bestowed upon them by the Patriot Act.
Wow, "exceeds" the powers given the government by the Patriot Act? That's what I call exxxxtreeeeeme overreach.
One additional note: the fact that, interesting enough, the timing of the ACLU's most recent legal challenge coincided almost exactly with the information revealed by Edward Snowden indicates to me that the organization's hopes were renewed by the concept that they may now stand a better chance of establishing legal 'standing' before the court, a standard that served as an impediment to all previous lawsuits. (in other words, time will tell, but Snowden may have opened a very heavily-buttressed door to the SCOTUS)
Ok folks, here's where I earnestly plead with you to support these fine, patriotic institutions in any way you can.
'Cuz freedom cannot protect itself!