Civil Liberties Groups Sue US Government For Spying on American Abroad

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By Johnlee Varghese | January 1, 2014 11:20 PM EST

The Civil liberties groups have filed a legal case against the US government over National Security Agency (NSA) overseas surveillance programme.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) along with the Yale University's Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic filed the lawsuit  to find out what happens to data that NSA collects by spying on Americans abroad. Alex Abdo, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project in his blog post - The Most Important Surveillance Order We Know Almost Nothing About - informed that the lawsuit was filed on Monday in a federal court in New York.

Reuters
A woman holds a portrait of former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden in front of her face as she stands in front of the U.S. embassy during a protest in Berlin.

Through the Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, the ACLU has demanded that the government release basic information about the use of Executive Order 12,333 to conduct surveillance of Americans' international communications.

The rights group wants to understand 'How the government conducts this surveillance, and whether it appropriately accommodates the constitutional rights of American citizens and residents whose communications are intercepted in the course of that surveillance, are matters of great public significance and concern.'

" We now know too well that unchecked surveillance authority can lead to dangerous overreach. That's why we are fighting for the release of documents that would shed light on the internal rules that the executive has set for itself when it monitors international communications abroad - including Americans' international communications," Alex Abdo wrote.

In a separate case, the ACLU received a setback after a New York District Judge William Pauley dismissed a lawsuit filed by the ACLU in June that claimed that the way NSA tracked million of calls was 'illegal,' the BBC reported.

The ACLU that boasts of a supporter base of over 500,000 also is fighting in support of NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden. The group has created a petition President Obama: Grant Edward Snowden Immunity.

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(Photo: Reuters / )
A woman holds a portrait of former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden in front of her face as she stands in front of the U.S. embassy during a protest in Berlin.
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