The Department of Justice regards American citizens as “nothing more than rabble,” charges the attorney who won a legal challenge to the National Security Agency’s spy-on-Americans program called PRISM.
The DOJ moved Wednesday to block the plaintiffs in the case brought by attorney Larry Klayman, founder of FreedomWatch, against the NSA’s telephone call-tracking program.
In its motion filed with U.S. District Judge Richard Leon, who earlier issued an injunction against the spy program and called it “Orwellian,” the government is asking that the judge halt any further proceedings while an appeals court examines the ruling that said the government was violating the Constitution.
Klayman said the move wasn’t exactly a surprise in light of the government’s spying on Americans and its reluctance to provide information about the programs.
“This is a further attempt to keep information about the biggest violation of the Constitution in American history from the American people. It’s an outrage,” he said.
He said the Obama administration has the perspective of “heads I win, tails you lose,” and its attitude is: “We control all the information and the American people be damned. They don’t have rights.”
Klayman said he already had requested a status conference on the case, asking the court how to proceed with discovery in preparation for trial.
The government move reveals its true attitude, he said.
“It’s important for the American people to see how the government treats them and views them. We’re nothing more than rabble,” he said.
Politico reported on the government’s motion, which argued: “Further litigation of plaintiffs’ challenges to the conduct of these programs could well risk or require disclosure of highly sensitive information about the intelligence sources and methods involved – information that the government determined was not appropriate for declassification when it publicly disclosed certain facts about these programs.”
The information actually was disclosed when former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked details of the program.
The DOJ argued that if the litigation proceeds, “it will ultimately become necessary to conclusively determine, as a factual matter, whether plaintiffs have established their standing to challenge NSA’s alleged interception of the content of their communications, and collection of metadata about those communications.”
“Further litigation of this issue could risk or require disclosure of classified national security information, such as whether plaintiffs were the targets of or subject to NSA intelligence-gathering activities, confirmation or denial of the identities of the telecommunications service providers from which NSA has obtained information about individuals’ communications, and other classified information.”
But that’s exactly the point of his lawsuits, Klayman says: to find out the details of the programs and whether the government, in its alleged pursuit of information about terror activities, has been violating the constitutional assurances of Americans’ privacy.
The government is alarmed at that aim.