June 12 - Following leaks by Edward Snowden about the U.S. National Security Agency's monitoring of phone calls and internet use, the American Civil Liberties Union files a lawsuit challenging the legality of the surveillance program. Simon Hanna reports.
Edward Snowden - the man responsible for leaking secret information about U.S. surveillance techniques - was officially fired on Tuesday by the contracting firm that employed him. Citing "violations of the firm's ethics and principles" Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corp terminated Snowdon's contract. But the repercussions of the leaks - which exposed the United States' broad monitoring of phone calls and internet data - go far beyond Snowden himself. Big technology companies such as Google, Facebook and Microsoft urged the U.S. government to loosen security restrictions so they could publish the number and scope of surveillance requests. In New York, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in U.S. district court challenging the legality of the surveillance program. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ALEX ABDO, STAFF ATTORNEY AT THE ACLU NATIONAL SECURITY PROJECT: "The very real aspiration of the NSA that we have now learned is to essentially record the Internet, to keep track of every time anyone said anything to anyone online, on the phone, through any kind of communication and store it indefinitely in a government database in case that some point in the future it's important. That's not the roll for government that our Constitution sets out. They have every tool they need to fight terrorism. They don't need this one." The Obama administration has launched an internal review of the potential damage to national security from the leaks. Twenty-nine year old Snowden flew to Hong Kong on May 20 in the hope of resisting U.S. prosecution attempts - his exact whereabouts now are unknown.