WHERE IS THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA?
by Sharon Rondeau
(Sep. 5, 2015) — Eight days ago, on August 28, major media reported that a three-judge panel “overturned” or “reversed” a temporary but stayed injunction issued by U.S. District Court Judge Richard C. Leon in December 2013 in regard to mass surveillance of cellular telephone records conducted by the National Security Agency (NSA).
One week later, on September 4, plaintiffs’ attorney Larry Klayman predicted that the “NSA’s illegal surveillance soon will stop.”
When Klayman’s arguments to Leon proved successful nearly two years ago, The New York Times called Klayman a “thorn in the government’s side” who had launched a “judicial crusade on behalf of the little guy against big-government snooping. But not always a winning fight.”
At the time, Politico called Klayman a “conservative political activist.” On August 28, it reported that Leon’s December 2013 ruling “sent shockwaves across the legal landscape because it was the first in which a federal court judge sided with critics who questioned the legality of sweeping up data on vast numbers of phone calls — nearly all of them completely unrelated to terrorism.”
Business Insider described him as a “‘Birther’ Conservative Activist,” referring to Klayman’s challenge to Barack Hussein Obama’s constitutional eligibility to serve as president based on his long-form birth certificate and Selective Service registration form declared by a law enforcement investigation to be “computer-generated forgeries” more than three years ago.
The Russian news source RT reported that in Klayman’s original argument, he described having “told the court that ‘he and his clients had received inexplicable text message and emails, not to mention a disk containing a spyware program.’”
WND reported that after Klayman argued his case, he reported that “People began receiving from me emails that I had never sent” and that he opined, “The government just wanted me to know they were watching me.”
The mass surveillance was made public by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who left the United States prior to making the revelations from his hotel room in Hong Kong to The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald in June 2013.
In its reporting of the appellate court’s recent action, some in the mainstream media described Klayman as a “conservative activist.” USA Today reported that the appeals court did not address the underlying question of whether or not the collection of private persons’ phone records is constitutional but that White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest commented that its opinion was “consistent with what this administration has said for some time, which is that we did believe that these capabilities were constitutional.”
Arguments to the appellate panel were made last fall.
The panel returned the case to Leon for further consideration as to whether or not Klayman and the other plaintiffs had proved harm, and thereby, “standing.” At issue is that Klayman is a patron of Verizon Wireless, while Snowden had identified, and the NSA reportedly acknowledged, that Verizon Business Network Services was “targeted for bulk collection,” as stated the panel in its opinion.
After the opinion was published, Leon quickly set a hearing for Wednesday, September 2, refusing the Obama regime’s request for a postponement. During the proceedings, Leon recommended to Klayman that he submit evidence of his having been directly affected by the NSA’s collection of phone records to address the appellate court’s opinion that he had not demonstrated personal harm.
The appellate court must agree to Leon’s proposal to hold a trial in his court.
Klayman has termed Leon “courageous” both in his initial ruling nearly two years ago and his apparent intention to allow the lawsuit to go to trial. Leon opined that “there are millions, millions of Americans whose constitutional rights have been and are right now being violated” as a result of the surveillance and that he would not allow a delay to ensue.
On May 13, Congress passed, and Obama signed, the USA Freedom Act, which delegates the collection and maintaining of customer phone records to the phone carriers and not a government agency. The new law takes effect on November 29.
Politico reported that the new law “muddied the waters” as it relates to Klayman’s lawsuit.
Obama had previously defended the government’s bulk collection of phone records. Data collection has proceeded since Leon’s ruling, as he placed a stay on his injunction pending the government’s expected appeal. Critics of the act believe that it did not go far enough to restore the constitutional rights enumerated in the Fourth Amendment. Supporters, including its author, Rep. James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, say that it contains adequate provisions to protect individuals’ privacy.
Reportage by The New York Times, Business Insider, NBC, ABC and CBS of the case’s new status appears to be lacking. As of press time, only three outlets, one of which is Canadian, are reporting on the newest development.