A government oversight panel says that NSA spying programs are illegal. On Thursday, a report by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board was released, and it took serious aim at government surveillance. The 238-page report concluded that the bulk collection of phone data breaks the law, violates our civil rights, and does not make our nation any safer. The board said that the NSA program “lacks a viable legal foundation under Section 215 [of the Patriot Act], implicated constitutional concerns under the First and Fourth Amendments,” and they say it should be shut down.
This is the strongest opposition to the NSA to come from anywhere within the U.S. Government, and it was released just days after President Obama spoke to our nation in defense of NSA surveillance. Despite the President's claims that these programs are necessary to prevent terrorism, the oversight board said, “We believe that in only one instance over the past seven years has the program arguably contributed to the identification of an unknown terrorism suspect.” Although, they added that “there is reason to believe that the FBI may have discovered him without the contribution of the NSA's program.”
This report clearly states what many Americans and Civil Liberty groups have been saying since government spying programs were revealed – collecting Americans' phone and internet data is illegal without a warrant. Now it's time for the President to respect our constitutional rights and put an end to NSA spying.