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Today, FreedomWorks president Matt Kibbe joined Ken Cuccinelli and Senator Rand Paul in filing an historic class action lawsuit in defense of the Fourth Amendment. The suit's targets include high ranking officials in the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Defense who have been instrumental in overseeing the agency’s collection of massive amounts of telephone data known as the Mass Associational Tracking Program (MATP).
Speaking at a press conference, Mr. Cuccinelli said that the object of the suit is an injunction to prevent further collection of telephone data, and the removal of existing records from the NSA’s databases.
This suit is an important shot across the bow not just for those of us in the freedom movement, but also for anyone who cares about their privacy and has used a phone since 1996, when the MATP began. The Fourth Amendment guarantees the rights of all Americans to be secure in their persons and property, and not to be subjected to search or seizure without reasonable suspicion of having committed a crime. Starting with the distressing revelations by now-fugitive Edward Snowden last year, we now know that there are those in the government who do not consider these important protections to be worth the paper they are printed on.
For too long Americans have been willing to let their civil liberties slip away in the name of national security. Yet despite repeated requests, the NSA has been unable to supply any evidence that these telephone records have been effective in detecting or preventing terrorist attacks.
While others have attempted to challenge the NSA before, it has taken until now for a large group of citizens to band together to demand a fair hearing in court with legal representation arguing for the rights of the American people. So far, the class action suit claims to represent more than 386,000 people whose information has been collected and retained by the government without an appropriate warrant. The actual number of those affected, of course, is closer to 326 million, the number of cell phone subscriber connections in the United States.
In an era where our government is continually overstepping its bounds and exceeding its authority, it is crucial that we have principled individuals willing to stand up to big government bullies and fight to preserve the rights explicitly enshrined in the Constitution. The ultimate outcome of the case will have far reaching ramifications on how the Constitution is interpreted in the future, and even if it takes years for the court to reach a decision, the result will have an impact on our entire future as a nation.