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Senators back lawsuit against NSA: 'no evidence' that bulk phone spying helps national security

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HTC Windows Phone 8x
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A trio of Democrat Senators sitting on the US Select Committee on Intelligence has expressed its disapproval of the NSA's bulk surveillance of US citizens' phone calls. Ron Wyden of Oregon, Mark Udall of Colorado, and Martin Heinrich from New Mexico all agree — having reviewed confidential information that their Committee status grants them access to — that the mass invasion of privacy is not justified by the intel gained from it. In their own words, they "have seen no evidence that the bulk collection of Americans’ phone records ... is uniquely necessary to the national security of the United States."

That directly contradicts the arguments made in support of the NSA's tracking program, which keeps logs of who you call, when, and for how long (though not of the actual content of the conversation). Relying on Section 215 of the Patriot Act, the widespread practice has habitually been justified on the grounds that it provides material important to thwarting terrorist activities within the country. The amicus brief filed by the three Senators is in support of a lawsuit led by the EFF that aims to put a stop to the NSA's undiscriminating surveillance, arguing that more targeted measures would produce equivalent or better intelligence results without impinging on the civil rights of the American population.

"No evidence that bulk collection was necessary to obtain critical information."

By itself, the court submission is only a supporting document to a broader case, but its greatest significance comes from the privileged position of its authors. They've had a look behind classified lines and their damning assessment of the necessity and efficiency of the NSA snooping program adds yet more weight to a growing body of evidence against the continued implementation of such widespread surveillance.