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Smith v. Obama

United States District Court, D. Idaho

June 3, 2014

ANNA J. SMITH, Plaintiff,
v.
BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States, et al., Defendants

For Anna Jo Smith, a Married Woman, Plaintiff: Lucas Todd Malek, LEAD ATTORNEY, Luke Malek, Attorney at Law, PLLC, Couer d'Alene, ID; Peter J Smith, IV, LEAD ATTORNEY, Lukins & Annis, P.S., Coeur d'Alene, Id.

For Barack H. Obama, in his official capacity as President of the United States of America, James R. Clapper, in his official capacity as Director of National Intelligence, Keith B. Alexander, in his official capacity as Director of the National Security Agency and Chief of the Central Security Service, Charles T. Hagel, in his official capacity as Secretary of Defense, Eric H. Holder, in his official capacity as Attorney General of the United States, James B. Comey, in his official capacity as Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Defendants: Bryan Dearinger, Marcia Berman, LEAD ATTORNEYS, U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division, Federal Programs Branch, Washington, DC; James Jordan Gilligan, Rodney Patton, LEAD ATTORNEY, United States Department of Justice, Washington, DC; Syrena Case Hargrove, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. Attorney's Office, Boise, ID.

OPINION

Page 1006

MEMORANDUM DECISION

B. Lynn Winmill, Chief United States District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

The Court has before it plaintiff Smith's motion for injunctive relief and defendants' motion to dismiss. The Court heard oral argument on May 14, 2014, and took the motions under advisement. For the reasons expressed below, the Court will grant the defendants' motion to dismiss and deny Smith's motion for injunctive relief.

BACKGROUND

The Fourth Amendment protects the right of privacy by forbidding unreasonable searches and seizures. With few exceptions, a citizen cannot be searched in violation of her reasonable expectation of privacy unless a judge has found there is probable cause to believe that she is committing a crime. This Fourth Amendment protection is violated here, Smith alleges, because the National Security Administration (NSA) is searching her telephone records without showing first that there is probable cause to believe she is engaged in criminal behavior. She asks the Court to enjoin the NSA from collecting and analyzing her telephone data.

For more than seven years, the NSA has been collecting and analyzing the telephone records of Americans to detect terrorist threats. While the agency does not listen to conversations, or identify the callers' names and addresses, it does collect the telephone numbers of all parties to a

Page 1007

call, along with the duration and time of that call, and stores this data for five years.

The NSA's collection and analysis protocols must be periodically approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC). The FISC prohibits the NSA from accessing the stored telephone data for any purpose other than counterterrorism or technical maintenance of the system. See Shea Declaration (Dkt. No. 15-2) at ¶ 31.

The NSA uses its vast trove of data to identify the telephone numbers of calls that terrorists make and receive. Before the NSA can access its telephone data, the FISC-approved protocols require the agency to first make an internal finding -- authorized by one of twenty-two designated NSA officials -- that a ...


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