1. Judge Leon in the DC District held the NSA spying program to be likely unconstitutional.
2. Barack Obama’s NSA review panel recommended some significant scaling back of the spying program.
At best, unfortunately, this is just a good conversation starter without any liklihood of concrete results. At worst, it’s just smoke and mirrors designed to take your eyes off the ball.
Here’s the deal on each and why the strategy must continue to be full steam ahead in the states to #NullifyNSA:
Judge Leon’s court opinion does nothing concrete, in practice. Nothing. He “enjoined” the entire program, but “stayed” his own decision, pending appeal. In other words, he blocked the program, but cancelled his own block – and handed it off to the next court to decide. Passed the buck, in our view.
Also, don’t expect the next court, or the Supreme Court, to actually have the opinion that mass NSA surveillance is unconstitutional and will need to stop. The odds of this happening are extremely low. While we disagree with much of legal expert Orin Kerr’s constitutional understanding on the issue, he provides some great insight as to how the higher courts will view this case, and it doesn’t look good for those who want to see the NSA stopped. Even worse is legal expert, and national security hawk, Ben Wittes – here.
A) NSA spying has not been stopped. and B) while it’s possible the courts will stop it, don’t count on it.
The panel advised that Obama strip the power to do mass surveillance. He won’t. Just today he said this:
“It’s important to note that in all the reviews of this program that have been done, in fact, there have not been actual instances where it’s been alleged that the NSA in some ways acted inappropriately in the use of this data.”
Barack Obama believes that the NSA is NEVER actiing inappropriately. He’ll never stop the spying.
GOOD NEWS AND BAD NEWS
Bad news first. The courts, the review panel, congress – all efforts to pass bills like the USA Freedom Act – all these efforts are virtually doomed.
GOOD NEWS – There’s clarity in our path. If you want something to happen, your only resort is the plan to #NullifyNSA and resist on a state and local level.