White House: Judge Can’t Rule on Constitutionality of NSA Surveillance

Clapper: Information Is 'Classified' and Can't Be Ruled On

The Obama Administration never tires of its attempt to have its cake and eat it too with respect to NSA surveillance. While insisting repeatedly that the surveillance is nothing to worry about because of judicial oversight, they continue to argue that judges not be allowed to rule on the constitutionality of the schemes.

The latest attempts center on long-standing warrantless wiretapping lawsuits, which the White House continues to insist can’t even be considered by the judge without “extremely grave damage” to the entire nation occurring.

The claim of “state secrets” is an old and predictable one, but less and less credible as the facts of the policy are already a matter of public record with whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper insists Snowden’s revelations are irrelevant, however, and that public knowledge or not, the details of the program are “classified” and any challenge should be dismissed because of that.

Civil liberties groups call the argument “very troubling,” but it’s the extremely lazy go-to for the administration in most lawsuits, and the real question is whether judges will continue to buy it. With another judge only last week saying the telephone metadata surveillance was almost certainly unconstitutional, there seems to be a lot more willingness for federal judges to defy the official line.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.