NSA, Wiretapping, and the Fourth Amendment: A Spotlight Blake C. Norvell's Course

August 22, 2013

On June 11th, 2013, The American Civil Liberties Union and the New York Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in New York claiming that the National Security Agency's (NSA) mass surveillance of Verizon customers violates both the First and Fourth Amendments of the United States Constitution. "This dragnet program is surely one of the largest surveillance efforts ever launched by a democratic government against its own citizens," Jameel Jaffer, ACLU's deputy legal director, said in a statement at the time.

In a recent online CLE course for Lawline.com, attorney Blake Norvell argues that a constitutionally significant distinction can be drawn between an "Expansive Model NSA Program" and a "Narrow Model NSA program."  Both the Expansive and Narrow Models begin with the NSA placing a wiretap, located overseas, on a foreign terrorist suspect residing in a foreign country, monitoring all calls to and from her/his phone. Element 2 of the Expansive Model involves the NSA placing a wiretap, located in the United States, on a US citizen suspected of terrorism residing in the USA, monitoring all international phone calls made by or to him/her. In Element 2 of the Narrow Model, by contrast, the NSA never conducts warrantless wiretaps of suspected terrorists living in the USA unless the individual in question either placed, or received, a phone call to/from a suspected terrorist residing overseas.

Insofar as the government has not revealed the precise details of the wiretapping program, it remains to be seen which of the two models is accurate, but in Mr. Blake's analysis, the constitutionality of the program hangs in the balance.

"The Narrow Model is constitutional, and would be upheld by our courts," he says. "The Expansive Model is unconstitutional . . . and would likely be declared unconstitutional by our courts."

Fore more information on Mr. Norvell's program, see the below:




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