The National Security Agency (NSA) can resume the bulk collection of telephone records, at least temporarily, a U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ruled Monday.
The program, which had drawn criticism and concern after documents released by whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed it, had been suspended after the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in May that the NSA had never been authorized to gather those records by the USA PATRIOT Act, which Congress let expire June 1. The USA Freedom Act, signed into law by President Obama on June 2, greatly curbed the surveillance program but allowed it to continue during a 180-day transition period. The appeals court ruling, however, thwarted resumption.
In Monday's decision the FISC judge, Michael Mosman, called the Second Circuit's ruling not binding and gave the nod for the program's temporary resumption.