(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) issued the following statement after Judge Richard J. Leon – a George W. Bush appointee and former federal prosecutor – issued an injunction against the NSA’s bulk surveillance program, which the Agency claims is authorized by Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act. Judge Leon determined that a conservative activist who petitioned the court to hold the program unconstitutional was likely to succeed in getting the court to invalidate the program and would face irreparable harm if the program were allowed to continue. Judge Leon stayed his ruling to give the U.S. Department of Justice time to respond.
“When exposed to the sunlight of Constitutional scrutiny, this massive secret surveillance program could not stand. An independent court, hearing both sides of the argument, has protected precious liberties and rights. Congress must act to create a Special Advocate, which I’ve urged, so unconstitutional surveillance is stopped before privacy is invaded illegally – as it was here for a decade.
“The court has said what I and others have argued for so long: the NSA’s bulk data program, which went unscrutinized because it was shrouded in secrecy, poses a clear danger to legally protected liberty and privacy rights. Now, Congress should act as well by creating greater transparency and a special advocate whose client is the Constitution to advocate on behalf of Americans’ liberty and privacy.”
Senator Blumenthal, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, earlier this year introduced the FISA Court Reform Act of 2013, which would create a special advocate to the FISA courts to argue on behalf of the right to privacy and other individual rights of the American people.