Idaho Nurse Gets Allies in Fight Against NSA Phone Tracking

By Tom Bacon

A Coeur d' Alene nurse - she describes herself as "just a small town girl" - has gotten some powerful legal help in her seemingly Quixotic quest against government snooping in her phone records. 32-year old Anna Smith, a neonatal emergency nurse at Sacred Heart Children's Hospital, was shocked when she found out the National Security Agency collects and stores her phone records.

So with the help of her husband, Peter Smith, a lawyer in Coeur d' Alene, she filed suit last month against PResident Obama and U-S intelligence agencies. The first round in court went to the president and the government.

Smith's lawsuit was dumped out by federal judge Lynn Winmill in Boise, who noted that his hands were tied under recent federal law. But Winmill hinted that the case ought to go all the way to Supreme Court review. He said there's a looming gulf "between a 1979 decision that allows the government to collect phone meta-data held by a third party without a warrant, and the current National Security Agency use of that decision".

The Idaho ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation heard the judge's call and stepped in. The organizations will provide lawyers to help Peter Smith and Coeur d' Alene state representative Luke Malek who are Smith's local attorneys.

They've already filed an appeal, and the 9th Circuit Court has scheduled opening remarks next September 2nd. The whole idea of anyone tracking her phone calls outraged Smith. As she put it - "It's none of their business what I'm doing, who I call, when I call, how long I talk". And she's still a little bit awestruck. It's awesome that I have the right to sue the president. I'm just a small town girl.
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