Obama Administration Requested to Lift Ban on Extensive NSA Spying, Succeeded in 2011
September 9, 2013 4:49 PM
comment(s) - last by
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.
The Washington Post
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: High Treason.
9/10/2013 9:10:22 AM
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.
"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke
NSA Surveillance Programs Reach 75 Percent of U.S. Internet Communications
August 21, 2013, 11:51 AM
Source: Don't Worry, NSA Spies on "99 Percent" of Americans' Locations, Call Records
June 14, 2013, 3:57 PM
Google Knocked by Analysts, But Shows Strokes of Brilliance in Q1 2014
April 18, 2014, 2:33 PM
Google Street View and reCAPTCHA Get Smarter with New Algorithm
April 17, 2014, 9:02 AM
Mt. Gox CEO Refuses to Come to the U.S. in Financial Crimes Probe
April 16, 2014, 3:50 PM
Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook Home Reception Slower than Expected, Social Graph Will Pick Up
April 16, 2014, 2:00 PM
FBI's Facial Recognition Database to Have 52 Million Criminal, Non-Criminal Photos by 2015
April 15, 2014, 2:56 PM
Microsoft's Anti-Google "Scroogled" Campaign May Have Ended
April 15, 2014, 2:44 PM
Most Popular Articles
Cities to Carpoolers: Sharing Your Car is Illegal, We Will Seize Your Cars
April 4, 2014, 9:17 PM
iPad Exploiter is Freed by Federal Appeals Court
April 11, 2014, 7:40 PM
A-10 Warthog May Live to Fight Another Day with Support from Lawmakers
April 14, 2014, 9:41 AM
Taiwan's AOU Claims to Have World's Highest-Res. OLED Smartphone Display
April 11, 2014, 1:44 PM
EFF: NSA May Have Used IRC Botnets to Exploit Heartbleed for Last Two Years
April 14, 2014, 4:43 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Facebook Aims to Provide Internet to "Every Person in the World" with Drones, Satellites
Apr 1, 2014, 10:20 AM
Retail Mobile Sites Experience Outages in Light of Simplexity's Bankruptcy
Mar 14, 2014, 8:48 AM
Tesla vs. BMW: Who Has the Safer EV?
Feb 1, 2014, 2:56 PM
Justice Leaks Details of Next HTC One Two Flagship Phone
Dec 5, 2013, 4:04 PM
Global Cyber Espionage Concerns Reveal Growing Cyber Armies
Nov 29, 2013, 11:04 AM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information