Home By Marquel Unexpected Ruling Critical of N.S.A. Becomes Uncertain Terrain for Appeal

Unexpected Ruling Critical of N.S.A. Becomes Uncertain Terrain for Appeal

A definitive decision on a telephone surveillance effort seems likely, but much else is unclear, as Supreme Court opinions have pointed in opposite directions. The Government now argues it is only assembling a national telephone directory.

Seeming to accept the  government argument, Judge Richard Leon ruled that there was no power under the constitution to assemble a telephone directory.

“On the other hand,” continued the judge, “I can find no prohibition about such a directory. Telephone directories are nice to have. They’re very useful. Frankly, I haven’t seen a directory in about ten years. What happened to them?”

The plaintiffs, however, termed the government’s position “dissembling.” The lead lawyer said,

” This administration and earlier ones have denied collecting information, have denied intercepting Americans’ calls, have insisted they only incidentally happen upon conversations between american citizens and foreign terrorist suspects, all of which it turns out is and was untrue.”

What seemed like an easy case, however, was thrown into confusion when the government completely reversed course.

“What we are doing is simply collecting information for a national telephone directory which will improve communications, efficiency, and economic growth, as well as return as to better times when every family had a telephone directory at home so that the little one could sit on it at the dinner table.”

Judge Leon interrupted, “I remember that! The good old days indeed!”

“Yes your honor, we are doing nothing harmful and certainly nothing  unconstitutional here.”

The judge asked to see a copy if any were yet produced.

“Certainly, your honor, it’s a preliminary publication, but here it is.”

The judge leafed through the pages of the massive listings.

“Why here’s my number! And there’s my wife, and next to that… her what’s that doing there? How do you know about her? And her? And her?”

“Your honor, I assure you all that will be cleaned up and removed from the final edition.”

“Sounds good to me,” said the judge, “Case dismissed!”

For more of Judge Richard Leon’s ruling go to http://nyti.ms/JyZzZb.



  1. I’d noticed in an earlier non-TPV story about tamping down NSA snooping that the judge was un-named, I see TPV has come up with the story behind the story.

  2. I still remember the sense of accomplishment I felt when my name was posted in the NYC phone directory. I could only imagine my feeling at the thought of being listed in a national phone directory. Way to go NSA!

Comments are closed.