Civil Liberties

NSA's Phone Surveillance Is Illegal, Says EPIC

Which may be why the feds are so pissed about the leak


The Electronic Privacy Information Center Friday asked Congress to begin a series of oversight hearings on whether the National Security Agency's telephone surveillance scheme was legal.

 A letter from the group says a secret court "went beyond its legal authority when it sanctioned a program of domestic surveillance unrelated to the collection of foreign intelligence."

The disclosure of the court order, which The Guardian newspaper did late Wednesday, has roiled Washington, D.C. officialdom—but most of the debate has centered on the political fallout, not whether the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court order was legal or not. A series of congressional hearings could shift the debate to whether the Justice Department and the court's judges complied with the law or not.