Print 26 comment(s) - last by Perry Tanko.. on Sep 12 at 1:21 AM

The ban was put in place in 2008

The Obama administration allowed the National Security Agency (NSA) to spy on American communications by overturning a 2008 ban on such behavior. 

According to a new report from The Washington Post, the Obama administration was granted permission from a surveillance court in 2011 to intercept Americans' emails and phone calls. The administration was also allowed to keep intercepted U.S. communications for a longer period of time -- the original order was only for five years, but was extended to six years. Under special circumstances, the data can be retained even longer.  

What's interesting is that the court banned the NSA's ability to do these kinds of searches in 2008, and it was requested by the government itself. 

But in 2011, the Obama administration asked that the ban be lifted. Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) general counsel Robert S. Litt admitted that the NSA wanted to be able to search American communications without a warrant, public debate or any authority from Congress. With the ban lifted, the NSA could do so. 

So why exactly did the NSA want the ban lifted? According to Alex Joel, civil liberties protection officer at the ODNI, the NSA wanted this in case a U.S. citizen may have been a conspirator in a terrorist investigation. Lifting the ban meant that searches had to “reasonably likely to yield foreign intelligence information” -- not really be a sure thing. Which allowed for a broad spectrum of searches, and the results were subject to the NSA's privacy rules. 

This was quite an expansion in the authority of the NSA, and it went unnoticed for a long time. Many government authorities believe that a warrant shouldn't be needed if the NSA collects information in search of a foreign communication and accidentally collects an American communication. 

“If we’re validly targeting foreigners and we happen to collect communications of Americans, we don’t have to close our eyes to that,” said Litt. “I’m not aware of other situations where once we have lawfully collected information, we have to go back and get a warrant to look at the information we’ve already collected.”

The NSA intercepts over 250 million Internet communications each year under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Ninety-one percent are from U.S. Internet companies such as Google, and the rest come from companies that route Internet traffic to, from and within the U.S. 
The expanded search that comes from lifting the 2008 ban applies only to the downstream collection.

Clearly, the NSA has a "collect first, worry about privacy later" sort of deal, and this isn't the first time we've heard of it. Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden uncovered the spying methods used by U.S. intelligence agencies earlier this year, which included collecting data from phones. This was used to fight terrorist attacks, but the public feared for their privacy after such revelations.

Just last week, Snowden uncovered more details about the NSA, saying that the NSA spends about $250 million USD to diminish international encryption standards (as well as products) so that it can decode what it wants. He also revealed that both American and British spy agencies pushed to gain back-door access to tech giants like Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and Microsoft. This went on for at least three years, and by 2012, Government Communications Headquarters had created new access opportunities with Google.

Source: The Washington Post

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By Reclaimer77 on 9/9/2013 5:36:31 PM , Rating: 3
But it was Bush who started all this stuff!!!


RE: But...
By KCjoker on 9/9/2013 6:28:12 PM , Rating: 5
Careful, you'll be called a racist if you don't agree with anything Obama does.

RE: But...
By retrospooty on 9/9/2013 7:56:22 PM , Rating: 5
Bah, we are past it. With all of the ridiculously bad decisions he has made, refusal to go with the "transparency" he promised, piss poor economic record and more FOMA than I can even stomach getting into, and now this NSA crap, its safe to bash Obama without being called a racist. He is soooo freegin' awful that even the mainstream left supporters arent doing that. Even people like me that voted for him in 08 cant stand anything he says or does anymore. It just too much.

RE: But...
By ipay on 9/10/2013 12:39:13 PM , Rating: 2
Why are you so obsessed with Bush? You bring him up all the damn time.

Well yeah
By FITCamaro on 9/9/2013 5:13:54 PM , Rating: 5
You can't target conservative groups if you can't read their email.

RE: Well yeah
By superflex on 9/9/2013 5:26:42 PM , Rating: 4
You cant blackmail judges and politician to vote the way you want without access to their metadata.

RE: Well yeah
By Alexvrb on 9/9/2013 9:31:09 PM , Rating: 2
Heh... they've got a lot more than that. They've probably got serious dirt on most of Congress. A lot of them have serious issues, walk-in closets full of skeletons, etc.

How about this...
By GGA1759 on 9/9/2013 8:59:02 PM , Rating: 1
How about you kiss my ass Obama administration! Come knocking on my door for nothing and I'll sue your fucking ass!
Fuck you Obama. You suck as a president and are no better than Bush. Thanks for nothing.

RE: How about this...
By piroroadkill on 9/10/2013 4:47:54 AM , Rating: 2
Pretty much. Just as warmongering. Lying just as much. Re-appointing all the people who got us into the financial mess as advisers to the administration...

Obama hasn't really achieved anything you could hope him to.

RE: How about this...
By Krioni on 9/10/2013 10:22:01 AM , Rating: 3
Dude... I'd be careful about ranting too hard...

True story. I personally know someone who was ranting to a friend on the phone about Obama and said something threatening like "he should be shot" or something like that. The next day, he was arrested for threatening the president. He is still in jail (about 2 months now).

This was just a personal call between to acquaintances. (BTW, the dude is about the least threatening, borderline elderly guy you could meet)

That's eff'd up.

RE: How about this...
By inighthawki on 9/10/2013 11:18:09 AM , Rating: 2
Careful, they might be after you know for using all those keywords in one post.

RE: How about this...
By GGA1759 on 9/10/2013 12:17:11 PM , Rating: 2
Personal bodily harm threats and rants are two different things.

High Treason.
By mmatis on 9/10/2013 9:02:34 AM , Rating: 2
Nothing less. So WHERE are this country's "Law Enforcement" officers, every one of whom swore an oath to defend the Constitution before they pinned on that badge?

RE: High Treason.
By jRaskell on 9/10/2013 9:10:22 AM , Rating: 2
Our Law Enforcement works directly for those violating our constitutional rights.

Of course, we did elect those doing the violating, and will continue to do so as long as the average American cares more about the perception of safety than the actuality of freedom.

RE: High Treason.
By wookie1 on 9/10/2013 12:47:28 PM , Rating: 2
They know who butters their bread.

RE: High Treason.
By ClownPuncher on 9/10/2013 1:06:32 PM , Rating: 2
That kinda sounds sexy, TBH.

RE: High Treason.
By mmatis on 9/11/2013 8:44:00 AM , Rating: 2
In other words, they are not "Law Enforcement" as they claim, but are merely a Praetorian Guard in the WORST sense of the term. And as to the claim that we "elected" their Masters, I would only point out the two-party monopoly on the electoral process, and how those two parties and the Media conspire to insure nobody who doesn't toe their line can get elected.

By superstition on 9/9/2013 11:06:49 PM , Rating: 2
So why exactly did the NSA want the ban lifted? According to Alex Joel, civil liberties protection officer at the ODNI, the NSA wanted this in case a U.S. citizen may have been a conspirator in a terrorist investigation.

Like Glenn Greenwald's partner, eh?

By Fritzr on 9/9/2013 11:16:18 PM , Rating: 2
They already had that power. Show the court that the USC has visible ties to "terrorist activity"...accept completed warrant.

No need to wait for the warrant even as the law allows retroactive search warrants to be issued if the court can be shown that the search found something.

By superstition on 9/10/2013 5:24:01 PM , Rating: 2
All they have to do is cry "TERRORISM" and we're supposed to flush the rule of law down the toilet and turn into gibbering apes.

Of course, that's a fancifully romantic view since the rule of law is a misleading way of talking about the safeguarding of elite privilege.

What happened to the law?
By Fritzr on 9/9/2013 11:12:39 PM , Rating: 2
The President's Oath of Office requires he fulfill his duties
In the Constitution, obeying US Law is one of the explicitly listed duties of the President.

Mr. Obama has violated his Oath of Office by conspiring with NSA to commit crimes. Getting a court order that says that a secret court says it is okay is all that is necessary to edit Federal Law simply means that Congress has no control whatsoever.

After all, if Congress passes a law that prevents FISC from doing this, then FISC need only issue a Top Secret opinion granting FISC permission to continue as if Congress had done nothing.

They have already set the precedent that a FISC opinion overrides Federal Law, so whatever FISC says in opinions that are available only to the President becomes prevailing law.

Since SCOTUS has repeatedly upheld the 4th Amendment, it appears that FISC opinions even trump SCOTUS opinions.

RE: What happened to the law?
By Spuke on 9/10/2013 2:01:18 PM , Rating: 2
Congress has access to FISC proceedings if they so desire.

Obama Fan Club
By DocScience on 9/10/2013 4:05:43 PM , Rating: 2
What I can't understand about the Obama Fan Club is why anyone still believes.

Idiocy? Ideology? Ignorance? Just the color of his skin?
Or is it still love over everything?

RE: Obama Fan Club
By roykahn on 9/10/2013 5:26:52 PM , Rating: 2
It is the cult of personality. Most people vote for the personalities of politicians instead of the policies they promise *cough* to act upon. It is the same pretty much all over the world. Sure, there are exceptions, but most elections are just popularity contests and media circuses designed to entertain and deceive the public.

I daresay your average American knows more about their favorite sports team (that has no impact on their life) than the political party they vote for (that has much impact on their life). Part of the problem is the purposeful dumbing-down of political discussion in the mass media.

Remember when Rick Perry said "oops" when asked a question on TV? That was major news and led to his failure. If he, instead, said something truly horrifying like America should basically bomb any country it doesn't like, then that would've been much less harmful to his popularity.

Missed Oppurtunity
By Stuka on 9/10/2013 3:24:14 PM , Rating: 2
At this point I'm pretty sorrowful that the Cuban Missile Crisis didn't boil over into full nuclear war. The environmental fallout would be temporary, but the changes to human society would last thousands of years.

No more BS concerns like property taxes, immigration reform, government subsidized gender reassignment surgery, mandatory backup cameras on vehicles, home owner's associations, fair trade agreements, who pays for your medical care, what age your allowed to have sex, etc.

Clean slate. Maybe it would be better, maybe it would be worse, but it would absolutely be different. Lord knows these freaking morons will not change on their own. A person (or a society) have to be pushed to the brink of destruction before they will accept change as necessary. Until then, it will only get worse. But if all you are concerned with is breathing and eating, then I guess you'll be fine either way.

Thanks Obama
By Perry Tanko on 9/12/2013 1:21:41 AM , Rating: 2
well i guess the boys at the NSA will be enjoying their 200,000+ terrabytes of Facebook selfies, sex tapes, and online porn. All at taxpayer expense! Don't you guys feel glad you re-elected the clown Obummer. Hope and change! Heil Obummer.

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