This week, a federal appeals court ruled that the NSA spying programs revealed to the world by whistleblower Edward Snowden were actually illegal and unconstitutional.
The ruling was made by Judge Marsha Berzon, who determined that the NSA had no legal authority to collect phone and internet data from innocent people under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA.
The program was illegal because FISA did not allow for bulk collection, and “required the government to make a showing of relevance to a particular authorized investigation before collecting the records,” Berzon said in her ruling.
“The metadata collection exceeded the scope of Congress’s authorization,” she added.
Not only was the program illegal, but it was essentially worthless as well, and did nothing to prevent terrorism or bring terrorists to justice. Berzon said that there is no evidence that the spying program actually did anything to prevent a single case of terrorism, despite claims from US officials that the programs were absolutely necessary to prevent terror attacks.
“To the extent the public statements of government officials created a contrary impression, that impression is inconsistent with the contents of the classified record,” she wrote.
On Wednesday, Edward Snowden Tweeted his reaction to the ruling.