It’s easy to forget these days, but former President George W. Bush’s illegal warrantless surveillance program was never halted by Congress, nor by the Obama administration. It was merely legalized in a 2008 law called the FISA Amendments Act. That means the surveillance of Americans’ international phone calls and internet use — complete with secret rooms in AT&T data centers around the country — is likely still ongoing.
On Monday, a federal appeals court reinstated a key legal challenge to that surveillance: a lawsuit filed by the ACLU and others within hours of the FISA Amendments Act (.pdf) being signed into law. The lawsuit attacks the constitutionality of the legislation, which allows the government to electronically eavesdrop on Americans without a probable-cause warrant, so long as one of the parties to the communication resides outside the United States, and is suspected of a link to terrorism.