ACLU sues over NSA surveillance program

first_imgThe American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Tuesday challenging the constitutionality of the U.S. government’s surveillance program that collects from U.S. phone companies the call records of tens of millions of Americans.It is the first substantive lawsuit following reports in The Washington Post and the Guardian last week detailing two sweeping surveillance programs run by the National Security Agency under laws authorized by Congress after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.The ACLU suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, challenges the legality of the spy agency’s collection of customer “metadata,” including the phone numbers dialed and the length of calls. The lawsuit is asking the court to force the government to end the program and purge any records it has collected.The program, first disclosed by the Guardian, collects such information, used by intelligence analysts to detect patterns and personal connections, on every phone call made or received by U.S. customers of major American phone companies. The once-secret program was acknowledged last week by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who is named in the ACLU lawsuit.The suit was filed hours after Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, accused Clapper of failing to give “straight answers” about the scope of the NSA’s surveillance programs during a committee hearing in March.last_img