NEW YORK — A federal judge Friday found that the National Security Agency's bulk collection of millions of Americans' telephone records is legal and a valuable part of the nation's arsenal to counter the threat of terrorism.
U.S. District Judge William Pauley said in a written opinion that the program "represents the government's counter-punch" to eliminate al-Qaida's terror network by connecting fragmented and fleeting communications.
In the ruling, the judge noted the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and how the phone data-collection system could have helped investigators connect the dots before the attacks occurred.
Pauley's decision contrasts with a ruling earlier this month by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon, who granted a preliminary injunction against the collecting of phone records of two men who had challenged the program. The Washington jurist said the program likely violates the U.S. Constitution's ban on unreasonable search.
Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.