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US Federal Court Rules NSA Surveillance Illegal

© AP Photo / Patrick SemanskyNSA Headquarters, Fort Meade, MD.
NSA Headquarters, Fort Meade, MD. - Sputnik International
The Second US Circuit Court of Appeals said a lower court judge erred in dismissing a lawsuit challenging the program's constitutionality.

A US appeals court ruled Thursday that the National Security Agency's program that collected phone records of Americans is illegal, saying it exceeds the scope of what Congress authorized.

The case hinges on revelations from a leak of NSA documents by Edward Snowden that exposed the bulk collection of information domestically by the agency. 

Glenn Greenwald, one of the investigative journalists responsible for bringing Snowden's information to light, indicated: the ruling should mean that Snowden is absolved of criminal charges for being a whistleblower. 

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals said that the laws used as a basis for the bulk data collection "have never been interpreted to authorize anything approaching the breadth of the sweeping surveillance at issue here." 

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