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FISC Court Rules Bulk Data Collection Can Continue

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has ruled the National Security Agency may temporarily resume its bulk collection of Americans’ domestic phone call records, the New York Times reported on Tuesday.

So Much for Senator Rand Pauls efforts. Bulk collections continue under FISC ruling.

The program lapsed on June 1, when Section 215 of the Patriot Act expired. Congress revived that provision the following day with a bill called the Freedom Act, which said the provision could only be used for bulk collection for six months.

A National Security Agency (NSA) data gathering facility is seen in Bluffdale, about 25 miles (40 km) south of Salt Lake City, Utah May 18, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart

A National Security Agency (NSA) data gathering facility is seen in Bluffdale, about 25 miles (40 km) south of Salt Lake City, Utah May 18, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart

In May, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan had ruled that the Patriot Act did not authorize the NSA to collect Americans’ phone records in bulk.

Congress did not add anything to the bill contradicting the 2nd Circuit ruling, leaving it unclear whether the program could resume in the interim, the Times reported.

Judge Michael Mosman of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ruled late on Monday that the Second Circuit was wrong and that the program could resume, the New York Times said.

“Second Circuit rulings are not binding on the F.I.S.C. and this court respectfully disagrees with that court’s analysis, especially in view of the intervening enactment of the U.S.A. Freedom Act,” he wrote, according to the Times.

(Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Bill Trott)

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(Caricature by DonkeyHotey)

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