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Policy: Law

Plaintiffs file opposition to government’s motion to dismiss NSA spying case

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National Security,NSA,Law,Legal Newsline

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) – The plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit against the National Security Agency and other government entities for allegedly spying on American citizens have filed an opposition to the defendants’ motion to dismiss.

“Plaintiffs respectfully request that this court deny the Government defendants’ motion to dismiss because plaintiffs do not lack standing to assert any of their claims, plaintiffs have stated more than enough legally sufficient facts to survive a motion to dismiss, and plaintiffs have not engaged in any so-called ‘claim-splitting,’” the opposition filed Wednesday states.

E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse

E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse

While the motions for extension were pending until the plaintiffs gave notice that they were no longer going to pursue the class actions in the two other lawsuits against the defendants, known as “Klayman I” and “Klayman II,” the plaintiffs informed this court that they would streamline the case for them and the American people, and that they would file this class action to ultimately get issues before the U.S. Supreme Court as soon as possible.

“Due to extreme constitutional importance of this case, plaintiffs claims cannot be dismissed,” the opposition states.

The plaintiffs do not lack standing to assert any of their claims, and the plaintiffs have stated more than enough legally sufficient facts to survive a motion to dismiss, they say.

“The constitutional issues that have been raised in these cases, as this court has stated, are ‘at the pinnacle of public national interest,’” the opposition states.

In further recognizing the importance of these issues, this court has expressed that it “cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary invasion’ than [the] systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval,” the opposition claims.

The class action complaint was first filed on Jan. 23 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and named the NSA; President Barack Obama; U.S. Attorney General Eric Himpton Holder Jr. ; Keith B. Alexander, the director of the National Security Agency; Roger Vinson, a judge for the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court; James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence; John O. Brennan, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency; James Comey, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the U.S. Department of Justice; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and the Central Intelligence Agency as defendants in the suit.

Larry Klayman; Charles and Mary Ann Strange; Michael Ferrari; and Matt Garrison claim the NSA began a classified surveillance program to intercept the telephone communications of American citizens and on June 5, The Guardian reported the first of several “leaks” of classified material from Edward Snowden, a former NSA contract employee.

The leaks revealed, and continue to reveal, multiple U.S. government intelligence collection and surveillance programs, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs claim Vinson, acting in his official and personal capacities and under the authority of Obama, Holder, the FBI, the NSA and the DOJ, ordered that the Custodian of Records “shall produce the production of tangible things from Verizon Business Network Services Inc. on behalf of MCI Communication Services…to the NSA and continue production on an ongoing daily basis thereafter.”

The U.S. Government, on the orders authorization of the president, the attorney general, the DOJ and the NSA, obtained a top secret court order that directs Verizon to turn over the telephone records of more than 100 million Americans to the NSA on an ongoing daily basis, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs claim Vinson ordered access to electronic copies of all call detail records or “telephony metadata” created by Verizon for communications between the United States and abroad.

The plaintiffs claim to date, the defendants have not issued substantive and meaningful explanations to the American people describing what has occurred.

Such intrusive and illegal surveillance has directly impacted each and every plaintiff, according to the suit.

The defendants violated the plaintiffs’ First, Fourth and Fifth amendment rights and caused them damages, according to the suit.

“PRISM” was an internal government computer system, authorized by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. It collected records from all communications companies, including Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, Google, Yahoo!, Facebook, Skype, YouTube, AOL, Apple and PalTalk.

“PRISM” began after the passing of the Protect America Act in 2007.

The defendants’ motion to dismiss was filed June 2.

The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest in an amount in excess of $20 billion. Klayman is representing himself and the rest of the class.

The defendants are being represented by Assistant Attorney General Stuart D. Delery, Federal Programs Branch Director Joseph H. Hunt, Deputy Branch Director Anthony J. Coppolino, James J. Gilligan, Marcia Berman, Bryan Dearinger, Rodney Patton, and Julia A. Berman of the U.S. Department of Justice.

The case has been assigned to District Judge Richard J. Leon.

U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia case number: 1:14-cv-00092

From Legal Newsline: Kyla Asbury can be reached at classactions@legalnewlsine.com.

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