Congressman supports ACLU lawsuit against Obama administration officials over NSA spying

Patrick Howley Political Reporter
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Republican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner is supporting an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit against key Obama administration officials challenging the constitutionality of the National Security Agency’s phone records collection program, joining the National Rifle Association in supporting the lawsuit.

“The NSA’s dragnet collection of data is a violation of Americans’ privacy rights and a misinterpretation of the law. Bulk data collection has frightening implications. The Administration believes every phone call that every American makes is relevant to terrorism investigations. Does it also believe every gun sale is relevant? The same flawed legal argument could be used to build a national gun database, violating our Second Amendment rights,” said Sensenbrenner, who filed an amicus brief supporting the ACLU’s lawsuit against NSA Director Keith Alexander, Attorney General Eric Holder and other Obama administration officials.

“This misinterpretation of the law threatens our First, Second and Fourth Amendment rights. Congress never intended this. I will rein in the abuse of both the Patriot Act and the U.S. Constitution with the support of the American public,” Sensenbrenner said.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) filed an amicus brief this week supporting the ACLU’s lawsuit in U.S. District Court.

“The mass surveillance program threatens the First Amendment rights of the NRA and its members,” according to the NRA counsel’s argument in the amicus brief. “The mass surveillance program could allow identification of NRA members, supporters, potential members, and other persons with whom the NRA communicates, potentially chilling their willingness to communicate with the NRA.”

“If programs like those currently justified by the government’s interpretation are allowed to continue and grow unchecked, they could also contrary to clear congressional intent undo decades of legal protection for the privacy of Americans in general, and of gun owners in particular,” according to the NRA counsel’s conclusion.

The ACLU filed its lawsuit in June, following public revelations regarding what it called “the NSA’s unprecedented mass surveillance of phone calls.”

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