WASHINGTON -- The guy who successfully convinced a judge that the NSA's metadata program was likely unconstitutional is a conservative lawyer who once sued his own mother, is closely affiliated with the birther movement, and thinks President Barack Obama is a Muslim.
"I'm not overselling this, and I'm not trying to beat my own chest, but this is the equivalent of winning the Super Bowl," Larry Klayman told The Huffington Post in an interview shortly after the ruling on Monday. "This is the worst violation of constitutional rights in American history. The NSA is an outlaw organization that is out of control."
Klayman, who earlier this year called on Obama "to get up, to put the Quran down, to get up off his knees, and to figuratively come up with his hands out," believes that the NSA is not only getting records of his phone calls, but is actively listening in on them as well as reading his emails. He also said Monday he believes that he's getting "special treatment" from the NSA, charging that friends have received text messages from him that he never sent.
"It's an age-old technique by the government to intimidate people that take them on," Klayman said. "It's a way to warn me: 'Don't mess with us, we're the CIA, we're the NSA,' or whatever."
Klayman, a former Reagan-era Justice Department lawyer, came to prominence in the 1990s when he founded Judicial Watch and went to war against the Clinton administration. He's a regular contributor to the birther website WND (formerly World Net Daily) and even helped the site sue Esquire over a parody piece.
He estimated he has about 20 lawsuits floating around right now, but said his NSA lawsuit is by far the most important.
"It's the most important ruling in the history of litigation against the government," Klayman said. "It's the biggest ruling, ever, in any case filed against the government. Never has there been a violation of constitutional rights to this magnitude. Thank God that this judge stepped in on behalf of the American people."
Monday's ruling would prevent the NSA from collecting metadata on Klayman, but for the fact that the judge also stayed that ruling, giving the government further opportunity to appeal. Klayman said he expects the case to wind up in the Supreme Court.
"I'm not one of those conservatives who says that the judicial branch is a lesser branch of government, and it's time for the court to step in, because both political branches, both parties, are out of control and they think they can do whatever they want," Klayman said.
"Even when this NSA spying thing was revealed, you had Republicans stepping in in support of it, people like Rep. Peter King, Lindsey Graham, they think this is great," he continued. "You know what? They can take it where the sun don't shine."
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article stated that Klayman's metadata would no longer be collected by the NSA by virtue of the judge's ruling. The judge stayed his own ruling, meaning that the NSA can continue its program in the interim.
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Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)
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Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.)
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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) thought everyone "should just calm down." "Right now I think everyone should just calm down and understand this isn't anything that's brand new," Reid <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/06/verizon-phone-records-nsa_n_3397058.html?utm_hp_ref=politics" target="_blank">said</a>.
Former Vice President Al Gore
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.)
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) said in a statement: "This type of secret bulk data collection is an outrageous breach of Americans’ privacy."
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he was <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/06/lindsey-graham-nsa_n_3396223.html?1370532449" target="_blank">"glad" the NSA was collecting phone records. </a> "I don’t mind Verizon turning over records to the government if the government is going to make sure that they try to match up a known terrorist phone with somebody in the United States," Graham said in an interview on "Fox and Friends."
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.)
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) also claimed that reports of the NSA collecting phone records was "nothing particularly new." "Every member of the United States Senate has been advised of this," Chambliss<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/06/verizon-phone-records-nsa_n_3397058.html?utm_hp_ref=politics" target="_blank"> said</a>. "And to my knowledge we have not had any citizen who has registered a complaint relative to the gathering of this information."
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.)
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Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas)
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah)