Seven years after former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the mass surveillance of Americans’ telephone records, an appeals court has found the programme was unlawful — and that the United States intelligence leaders who publicly defended it were not telling the truth.
In a ruling handed down on Wednesday, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said the warrantless telephone dragnet that secretly collected millions of Americans’ telephone records violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and may well have been unconstitutional.
Snowden, who fled to Russia in the aftermath of the 2013 disclosures and still faces US espionage charges, said on Twitter that the ruling was a vindication of his decision to go public with evidence of the NSA’s domestic eavesdropping operation.
“I never imagined that I would live to see our courts condemn the NSA’s activities as unlawful and in the same ruling credit me for exposing them,” Snowden said in a message posted to Twitter.
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