June 23, 2013 at 2:08 pm #179202
Wonder how much “noise” would be created if DNI did NOT engage in fitting their statement(s) to what they perceive was the correct balance between privacy and security. Instead of flat out describing the risks and benefits of spying, with the hope of convincing most that Benjamin Franklin was wrong when he said “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.“
Analysts are expected to exercise “reasonable judgment” in determining which data to use, according to the documents, and “inadvertently acquired communications of or concerning a United States person may be retained no longer than five years.” The documents also refer to “content repositories” that contain records of devices’ “previous Internet activity,” and say the NSA keeps records of Americans’ “electronic communications accounts/addresses/identifiers” in an apparent effort to avoid targeting them in future eavesdropping efforts.
The Holder procedures were blessed in advance by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the Guardian reported, meaning that the judges would have issued a general order that authorizes the NSA to engage in warrantless surveillance as long as it’s primarily aimed at foreign targets, subject to some limited judicial oversight.
Today’s disclosure jibes with what Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who leaked top-secret documents, alleged in an online chat earlier this week. Snowden said, referring to the contents of e-mail and phone calls, that “Americans’ communications are collected and viewed on a daily basis on the certification of an analyst rather than a warrant.”
On Sunday, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper released a carefully-worded statement in response to a CNET article and other reports questioning when intelligence analysts can listen to domestic phone calls. Clapper said: “The statement that a single analyst can eavesdrop on domestic communications without proper legal authorization is incorrect and was not briefed to Congress.”
Clapper’s statement was viewed as a denial, but it wasn’t. Today’s disclosures reveal why: Because the Justice Department granted intelligence analysts “proper legal authorization” in advance through the Holder regulations.
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