Contradicting another federal court ruling made less than two weeks ago, a federal judge in New York on Friday ruled that the NSA's bulk data-collection program is legal and does not violate the U.S. Constitution. On the very first page of his 54-page opinion, the judge justifies his ruling by citing the case of a Saudi hijacker who was living in San Diego prior to September 11, 2001, whom the NSA supposedly couldn't find because it didn't have the domestic spying powers it now has. The judge argues, as have President Obama and some U.S. intelligence officials, that if the NSA had only had its dragnet program at the time, the 9/11 terrorist attacks could have been prevented.
That argument is an absolute lie, and it is another, compelling reason, that the suppressed 28 pages of the Congressional Joint Inquiry must be released and the 9/11 investigation re-opened to fully examine the role of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in financing and organizing the terrorist attacks.
Friday's ruling was issued by U.S. District Judge William Pauley in Manhattan, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1998. The judge who made the contrary ruling on Dec. 16 in Washington D.C. federal court, was Richard Leon, a conservative Republican.
Judge Pauley's ruling states in its second paragraph, on page 1, that the NSA lacked the legal capability to collect the type of telephony metadata which would have enabled it to discover that soon-to-be hijacker Khalid al-Mihdhar was living in San Diego, and was in contact with an al-Qaeda safehouse in Yemen.
The fact is, that the NSA already had full legal authority to obtain a wiretap for any phone number in the U.S. that was in contact with the al-Qaeda safehouse in Yemen. Moreover, Mihdhar had already been identified by the CIA as an al-Qaeda operative, but he was nonetheless allowed to enter the United States, because the CIA refused to tell either the State Department or the FBI about him. (Whether this was because Mihdhar, like other Saudis, was being protected, or for the CIA's own bureaucratic reasons, has not yet been fully determined.) And, on top of all that, Mihdhar was actually living in the home of an FBI informant in San Diego, who was later hidden from Congressional investigators by the FBI.
Judge Pauley's sophistry on this point has already been refuted by none other than former U.S. Senator Bob Graham, co-chair of the Congressional Joint Inquiry, who has stated previously: "There were plenty of opportunities, without having to rely on this metadata program, for the FBI and other agencies to have located Mihdhar."
In fact, all the FBI needed to do, was to follow the money trail from George W. Bush's croney Prince Bandar, whose wife was sending money to a Saudi intelligence operative, who in turn passed the funds on to Mihdhar and his partner Nawaf al-Hamzi.
In other words, the problem was not a lack of NSA spying; it was that the Saudi-sponsored hijackers were being protected by the Bush Administration and U.S. intelligence agencies, and that British-Saudi apparatus is still being protected and covered-up today by the Obama Administration. Release of the 28 pages will blow everything wide open.
Judge Pauley, near the end of his 54-page ruling, cites three other cases, all in 2009, in which terrorist attacks were supposedly prevented by the NSA's metadata collection program. In fact, these bogus claims have been already discredited by numerous investigators, including Obama's own independent review panel, whose findings were released on Dec. 18.