1979 Supreme Court Ruling Becomes Focus Of NSA Tactics
In 1979, then-Maryland Attorney General Stephen Sachs argued the case Smith v. Maryland before the U.S. Supreme Court. The case revolved around the warrantless collection of phone call information. Sachs defended the practice at the time, and he won. But the case now has a new life: the government cites the case as the legal basis for the National Security Agency's bulk collection of metadata from millions of Americans' phone calls. Now, Sachs says that practice goes far beyond what he argued in 1979, and constitutes a "massive intrusion" on Americans' privacy.