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January 27, 2014 AT 10:22 AM
Illegal and unconstitutional: that’s what a sudden, blistering report from an obscure government committee has called the NSA’s phone record database. The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board was conceived in the wake of 9/11, the event used to justify almost any level of surveillance. For five of its ten years, it hasn't even been operational. But on Thursday, it came out with perhaps the harshest take yet on the NSA’s phone record database, drawing a combination of sharp disagreement and immediate disregard from the President. In contrast to the vague promises of reform in Obama’s speech last week, though, the the oversight panel takes direct aim at the problems posed by the bulk collection of phone metadata.