A National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance program has been ruled unlawful, seven years after it was exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The surveillance of millions of Americans’ telephone records first came to light in 2013.
Now, the US Court of Appeals has ruled intelligence leaders who publicly defended the program lied.
And Mr Snowden has said he feels vindicated by the ruling.
He currently lives in exile in Moscow but, last year, expressed his wish to return to the US, where he faces espionage charges over his decision to go public.
“I never imagined that I would live to see our courts condemn the NSA’s activities as unlawful and in the same ruling credit me for exposing them,” Mr Snowden said.
“And yet that day has arrived,” he added.
Top US intelligence officials had publicly insisted the NSA had never knowingly collected data from private phone records, until Mr Snowden exposed evidence to the contrary in 2013.