The National Security Agency’s bulk telephone metadata collection program exposed by Edward Snowden is not authorized by the Patriot Act, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday.

The decision (PDF) by the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit said the snooping program “exceeds the scope of what Congress has authorized.” Both the Bush and the Obama administrations have cited the Patriot Act, adopted a month after the 2001 terror attacks, as the legal basis authorizing the spying that began in 2007.
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