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A U.S. District Court judge has ruled that the government’s massive domestic spying program represents a necessary “counter-punch” to the al-Qaeda terrorist network – and as such does not infringe upon the constitutional liberties of American citizens.

“There is no evidence that the Government has used any of the bulk telephony metadata it collected for any purpose other than investigating and disrupting terrorist attacks,” U.S. District Judge William Pauley wrote.

Really? That’s 100 percent Grade A government B.S.

More to the point, did this guy never read the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution?  Or study the strict conditions prescribed for a lawful search and seizure of an American citizen’s private property?  Apparently not …

According to Pauley – a Clinton appointee whose court is located in New York City – the federal government’s failure to stop the September 11 terrorist attacks necessitated the creation of a program designed to stop “decentralized” plots that were orchestrated and implemented via “fragmented and fleeting communications.”

“The government learned from its mistake and adapted to confront a new enemy: a terror network capable of orchestrating attacks across the world,” Pauley wrote. “It launched a number of counter-measures, including a bulk telephony metadata collection program – a wide net that could find and isolate gossamer contacts among suspected terrorists in an ocean of seemingly disconnected data.”

Yes … but the net itself is a flagrant violation of one of our most basic liberties, not to mention the latest evidence of the extent to which the War on Terror has been lost.

Not surprisingly, Big Brother praised Pauley’s ruling.

“We are pleased the court found the N.S.A.’s bulk telephony metadata collection program to be lawful,” a spokesperson for the U.S. Justice Department said.

Establishment “Republican” lawmaker Peter King of New York took it one step further, calling Pauley’s ruling a “victory for the patriotic men and women of the NSA.”

Wow …

No word yet on how NSA-lover U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham will respond …

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) – which filed the suit – rebuked Pauley’s decision, saying it “misinterprets the relevant statutes, understates the privacy implications of the government’s surveillance and misapplies a narrow and outdated precedent to read away core constitutional protections.”

We agree …

There is simply no universe in which the warrantless collection, monitoring and storage of confidential communications is not a violation of the Fourth Amendment … except this universe, apparently.  And the fact the federal government is now sanctioning such activity means it is every bit as dangerous as the terrorist network it claims to be combating – if not more.

Like we said …