The political advocacy group Freedom Watch says it plans taking the class-action lawsuits it has filed over disclosures that Americans' phone and email records are being mined by the government all the way to the Supreme Court.
"We ask for very large damages. In the first case, we're asking for an excess of $3 billion and the second case . . . $20 billion," the group's founder Larry Klayman told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
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"But the purpose for this is not the money. [It's] to punish the people who have done this … We're asking the courts to stop it, to require that the government expunge its records, to remove those records of people who are not suspected of terrorist activities and to apologize."
Last week, Edward Snowden, a National Security Agency contractor, revealed to The Guardian newspaper the existence of a secret program in which the phone records of Verizon customers are collected on a daily basis, calling it morally wrong.
A second program code-named PRISM, which allows for the mining of email records, was revealed by the Washington Post and The Guardian.
Freedom Watch launched its fight with a $3 billion suit for what it called "alleged government privacy abuse by the Obama Administration and Verizon."
On Wednesday, the group filed a $20 billion dollar companion suit that names President Barack Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, the heads of the National Security Agency, and 12 companies it says "collaborated with the government in violating the privacy and other constitutional rights of American citizens."
The companies named are: Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Skype, YouTube, Apple, PalTalk, AOL, and Yahoo.
"The users and subscribers of these companies comprise, combined with the Verizon class plaintiffs, a majority of the entire U.S. citizenry and thus these complementary class action suits pit the American people against their government and corporate enablers," the group said in a statement.
"It's not just a question of President Obama and his administration. You have judges who have become yes men, you have corporate industrialists much like in Weimar, Germany, which gave rise to Hitler," Klayman told Steve Malzberg.
"We've got all these companies playing patty cakes and Russian Roulette at the American citizens' expense with Obama and company . . . I'm a conservative, I believe in capitalism. If these corporations are corrupt and they're playing the game with Obama because they want something from him."
Klayman said he believes the suit will eventually go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
"Absolutely and that's where it's going. It will be there come hell or high water," he vowed.
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