Josh Gerstein: “A federal judge in San Francisco has ordered the National Security Agency to preserve all metadata from its monitoring of U.S. phone traffic, setting up a potential clash with the Washington-based surveillance court which oversees the NSA-run counter-terrorism program. U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White issued the order Monday afternoon California time in response to requests from plaintiffs in two lawsuits challenging the lawfulness of the NSA surveillance. “It is undisputed that the Court would be unable to afford effective relief once the records are destroyed, and therefore the harm to Plaintiffs would be irreparable,” White wrote in his two-page order (posted here). “A temporary restraining order is necessary and appropriate in order to allow the Court to decide whether the evidence should be preserved with the benefit of full briefing and participation by all parties.” White’s ruling is at odds with a ruling issued just Friday by Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Judge Reggie Walton, rejecting a government request to keep the phone data past the five-year point at which the surveillance court has ordered the records be destroyed.”
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