President Obama, and others who have been defending the NSA spying on Americans citizens have claimed that the NSA cannot and is not listening in to the phone conversations of American citizens. That appears to be a lie.
The National Security Agency has acknowledged in a new classified briefing that it does not need court authorization to listen to domestic phone calls, a participant said.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, disclosed on Thursday that during a secret briefing to members of Congress, he was told that the contents of a phone call could be accessed "simply based on an analyst deciding that."
If the NSA wants "to listen to the phone," an analyst's decision is sufficient, without any other legal authorization required, Nadler said he learned. "I was rather startled," said Nadler, an attorney and congressman who serves on the House Judiciary committee.
Not only does this disclosure shed more light on how the NSA's formidable eavesdropping apparatus works domestically, it also suggests the Justice Department has secretly interpreted federal surveillance law to permit thousands of low-ranking analysts to eavesdrop on phone calls.
If this turns out to be true then the National Security Agency and others within the federal government have been violating the 4th Amendment rights of tens and even hundreds of millions of Americans. That is patently wrong and totally unconstitutional.
Rand Pauls class action lawsuit against the NSA is sounding better and better all the time.