According to a recent ruling by a US appeals court, our government can collect information about citizens without a warrant if that info is inadvertently obtained while carrying out legal surveillance of non-nationals abroad.
This new ruling was handed down by the Second US Circuit Court of Appeals in New York. The initial case involved an appeal from Agron Hasbajrami, an American resident who was arrested in 2011. He pleaded guilty to attempting to give aid to a terrorist organization, but he challenged the charges by questioning the validity of the information gathered against him.
That information was obtained without a warrant. The court said that the “vast majority” of evidence used against Hasbajrami was “lawfully collected.” However, no information was provided about whether that information was obtained by querying NSA databases.
Still, the court ruled that this was not in violation of the Constitution. Patrick Toomey, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer stated:
“While we disagree with the court’s ruling that the NSA can collect Americans’ international communications without a warrant … the court rightly finds that the Fourth Amendment applies when the government searches for that sensitive information in intelligence databases.”
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