The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court on Monday overruled a Second Circuit Court of Appeals finding that the NSA has no authority to engage in bulk data collection, effectively green-lighting continued NSA operations in that area.
In a 26-page opinion made public on Tuesday, Judge Michael W. Mosman of the surveillance court rejected the challenge by FreedomWorks, which was represented by a former Virginia attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, a Republican. And Judge Mosman said the Second Circuit was wrong, too.
“Second Circuit rulings are not binding” on the surveillance court, he wrote, “and this court respectfully disagrees with that court’s analysis, especially in view of the intervening enactment of the USA Freedom Act.”
Mossman stated in the ruling that Congress could have explicitly banned NSA from conducting bulk data interceptions, but chose not to do so. Thus, it can continue.