Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Suing the NSA: THREE PRISM-Related Lawsuits - Obama, Holder Named As Defendants

June 12, 2013 - There is a lot of buzz today about "the lawsuit over PRISM" the NSA program created in 2007 to monitor electronic communications.

Most people do not seem to realize that there are at least three separate lawsuits concerned with the NSA's controversial domestic spying program.

One of the suits was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and two other suits are by former Justice Dept. prosecutor Larry Klayman. He is currently the General Counsel for Freedom Watch, Inc.

The Klayman Suits:

"Having already filed a 3 billion dollar class action with regard to the alleged government privacy abuse by the Obama administration and Verizon," reports Before It's News, "Larry Klayman....filed a new $20 billion dollar companion class action suit in DC federal court today. Like the prior class action suit concerning Verizon [filed on June 10], this new case names President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, the heads of the NSA and the 12 other companies who have collaborated with the government in violating the privacy and other constitutional rights of American citizens. The companies named in the suit which are tied to the government’s PRISM- NSA scheme are: Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Skype, YouTube, Apple, PalTalk, AOL, and Yahoo. The users and subscribers of these companies comprise, combined with the Verizon class plaintiffs, a majority of the entire U.S. citizenry and thus these complementary class action suits pit the American people against their government and corporate enablers."

1) Klayman filed a lawsuit on Monday, June 10. This is "the lawsuit against Verizon." This is Civil Action No.: 1:13-cv-00851 and was filed in the US District Court for the District of Columbia. See the full civil complaint here. Klayman  amended it to make it the first class-action lawsuit in response to the publication of a secret court order instructing Verizon to hand over the phone records of millions of American customers on an "ongoing, daily basis." The defendants are: Barack Obama; Eric Holder; Keith Alexander, Director of the National Security Agency; Lowell C. McAdam, Chief Executive Officer of Verizon Communications; Roger Vinson, Judge, U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court; Verizon Communication; National Security Agency; U.S. Department of Justice. More about this lawsuit at US News & World Report.

2) The suit filed today (June 12) asks for $20 billion in damages and attorney fees plus an injunction to stop PRISM. The three plaintiffs in this class-action lawsuit: Charles Strange of Pennsylvania, and California private investigators Michael Ferrari and Matt Garrison. More at US News & World Report.

The ACLU Suit:

The ACLU file their lawsuit on Tuesday, June 11 in response to "revelations about the NSA's unprecedented mass surveillance of phone calls," says the ACLU website. They say that the NSA program, PRISM, "violates Americans' constitutional rights of free speech, association, and privacy."

The ACLU's case is No. 13 CIV 3994 as filed with the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York. See the full complaint at the ACLU website. This case is commonly called "ACLU v. Clapper" because one of the defendants is Keith B. Clapper, Director of National Security Agency and Chief of the Central Security Service.

Jameel Jaffer, ACLU deputy legal director, said that NSA's PRISM "goes far beyond even the permissive limits set by the Patriot Act and represents a gross infringement of the freedom of association and the right to privacy."

"In other lawsuits against national security policies," reports the New York Times, "the government has often persuaded courts to dismiss them without ruling on the merits by arguing that litigation would reveal state secrets or that the plaintiffs could not prove they were personally affected and so lacked standing in court.  This case may be different. The government has now declassified the existence of the program. And the A.C.L.U. is a customer of Verizon Business Network Services — the recipient of a leaked secret court order for all its domestic calling records — which it says gives it standing."

Also See: My fight against Obama's abuse of power by Larry Klayman Renew America