A federal judge's ruling that the National Security Agency's secret collection of phone records is unconstitutional is a "strong decision" that bolsters the Fourth Amendment, says Larry Klayman, founder of Judicial Watch and Freedom Watch, which had brought a lawsuit against the government.
"It finds that the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution has been violated, [and] the judge enters an order . . . stopping this illegal conduct to collect telephone metadata on 300 million Americans," Klayman told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"If his decision is upheld, and I'm confident that it will be, and the government hasn't stopped what they're doing . . . there will be hell to pay." Klayman said Tuesday.
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Klayman said the decision puts President Barack Obama on notice, as well as Senate Democrats and Republicans "who are his enablers in this program, his intelligence committees, the NSA, [Attorney General] Eric Holder, everyone who's in this case."
"They're all on notice that if they violate the law further, they've committed a crime, and we will seek criminal penalties if they do that. So, we're very thankful for this judge."
U.S. District Judge Richard Leon said the NSA's collection of phone records violates privacy rights.
"There are very few judges in this country that would do this, because most of them lack courage; most of them have become the yes-men of the ruling establishment," Klayman said.
"But we have to take our hat off to Judge Richard Leon, he's an American hero, and he gets the credit. I made the argument on the jockey, but he's the horse, and he came through for the American people."
Klayman had filed two class-action lawsuits against Verizon, Sprint and other communications companies, which turned their records over to the government.
"[Leon] made reference to our Founding Fathers, he made reference to James Madison in particular, that they would never have conceived of a nation that would ever do this to its own people," Klayman said.
"Karl Marx conceived of a nation that would do it to his own people. That was the Soviet Union. The Chinese Politburo conceives of such a nation. That's China. But the United States?
"We have become a police state, and the American people cannot make one call anymore or use their Internet without fearing that their government's going to gather information, and their doctor, lawyer, accountant, anyone can destroy them.''
Klayman speculates that if the Founding Fathers had faced the same surveillance from England's King George, "they would have been picked up, arrested, and executed before they ever got to Philadelphia to sign a Declaration of Independence."
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