Board declares NSA data sweep illegal, says program should be ended

by FoxNews.com  |  published on January 23, 2014

ObamaNSA660_20140123_103215An independent board tasked with reviewing National Security Agency surveillance called Thursday for the government to end its mass data collection program and “purge” its files, declaring the program illegal in a major challenge to President Obama.

The president did not go nearly as far when he called last week for ending government control of phone data collected from hundreds of millions of Americans. In its report, obtained by Fox News and scheduled for release Thursday afternoon, The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) said the program ran afoul of the law on several fronts.

“The … bulk telephone records program lacks a viable legal foundation,” the board’s report said, adding that it raises “serious threats to privacy and civil liberties” and has “only limited value.”

“As a result, the Board recommends that the government end the program,” the panel wrote.

It remains to be seen whether Obama will accept all or part of the recommendations, but the findings could nevertheless be used as leverage in federal lawsuits against NSA spying.

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