A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that the National Security Agency (NSA)’s telephone record collection program is illegal under the Patriot Act, according to CNN.
The court wrote that Section 215 of the Patriot Act does not authorize this telephone metadata program, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The U.S. Patriot Act Section 215 stated, “The Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation or a designee of the Director … may make an application for an order requiring the production of any tangible things – including books, records, papers, documents and other items – for an investigation to protect against international terrorism…” according to The Ocean County Library’s website.
The list of tangible things the government can take is almost boundless, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s website.
The NSA has collected American telephone records to search for terrorist-associated phone numbers and other identifying data, according to CNN.
The agency has used the Patriot Act to validate this collection and data storage process, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Three provisions, Sections 215, 206 and 6001, will expire June 1, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s website.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said there is not enough time for Congress to debate a replacement for Section 215 before the expiration date, according to The Wall Street Journal.
“He is likely to pursue a temporary extension of the program with no changes,” according to The Wall Street Journal.
Ned Price, a National Security Council spokesman, said President Barack Obama thinks Section 215 should end by producing an alternative method to keep the program’s capabilities without the government keeping the mass telephone data.
Price said, “We continue to work closely with members of Congress from both parties to do just that,” according to CNN.
Section 206, an amendment to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, stated that investigators can engage in a single wiretap order to listen to a suspect’s phone line or to monitor a suspect’s Internet usage, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s website.
Section 6001 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 stated, “A target can be considered an agent of a foreign power without any evidence that they are acting with a group. But there must be probable cause that the target is engaging or preparing to engage in international terrorism…” according to the American Bar Association’s website.