Former Vice-President Walter Mondale and Sen. Gary Hart Testify on Behalf of ACLU in NSA Lawsuit

Earlier this week we reported that Patriot Act chief author Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.) had come out against the NSA in ACLU v. NSA, a lawsuit that seeks an immediate injunction that would halt all spying activity on American citizens, among other things. But what we didn't report is that a former Presidential candidate (and former Senator) and a former Vice-President have also sided with the ACLU. Their involvement relates to the FISA Court, where the NSA goes to file subpoenas for spying purposes.

According to Courthouse News, former Democratic Vice-President Walter Mondale and Sen. Gary Hart (D-Colo.) told a federal court recently that they designed FISA to safeguard the privacy of U.S. citizens in the wake of the Nixon administration's abuses of powers. They described the NSA's current surveillance program "far broader than those they set out to restrain in the 1970s." You can read the filing containing Vice-President Mondale's comments here.

Separately (and being represented by the EFF), Patriot Act author Rep. James Sensenbrenner told the court that lawyers for the NSA were improperly citing a part of the law to justify their program and that the way the law is being used is counter to how Congress envisioned. He told the court that he "vehemently disputes that Congress intended to authorize the program challenged by this lawsuit, namely, the unprecedented, massive collection of the telecommunications data of millions of innocent Americans."

Legal battles are being waged in both California and New York federal courts to put a halt to the NSA's spying program by declaring it unconstitutional and asking the court to have all the data the agency has collected be "purged."

You can read more about it here.

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