WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The National Security Agency (NSA) resuming its bulk data collection program violates the US constitution despite Congress granting the agency a six-month extension to collect US citizens’ phone records, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Staff Attorney Alex Abdo told Sputnik.
“The government appears to believe that Congress granted the NSA a six-month pass on bulk collection, but there is no grace period in the Constitution,” Abdo told Sputnik on Wednesday. “Even if Congress had allowed bulk collection, it would be unconstitutional.”
On Tuesday, the ACLU filed a motion asking the US Second Circuit Court of Appeals to halt the NSA’s bulk data collection program.
The new USA Freedom Act ended the NSA program, but Congress allowed the agency to collect data for a six-month period after June 2, 2015.
The Second Circuit Court did not issue an injunction to stop the NSA in its May ruling because the court wanted to wait for Congress to vote on the USA Freedom Act.
The NSA has spied on senior officials of foreign governments, including Germany, Brazil and France, according to secret government documents published on the WikiLeaks website earlier this month.
In 2013, US intelligence services came under increased scrutiny for their mass surveillance program after NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked classified documents which revealed the all-encompassing scope of US global spying programs.