Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board – Which Congress Made An Independent Agency in 2007, But Which Just Became Operational – Says NSA Spying Is ILLEGAL AND UNNECESSARY

Major New Voice Slams NSA Spying

Experts – including congress members say that the NSA’s spying program is illegal.

Officials in the legislative, judicial and executive branches of government all say that the mass surveillance on Americans is unnecessary:

  • 3 Senators with top secret clearance “have reviewed this surveillance extensively and have seen no evidence that the bulk collection of Americans’ phone records has provided any intelligence of value that could not have been gathered through less intrusive means”

A major new voice has just weighed in to agree: the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, which Congress made an independent agency in 2007, and which only recently became fully operational.

As the New York Times reports:

An independent federal privacy watchdog has concluded that the National Security Agency’s program to collect bulk phone call records has provided only “minimal” benefits in counterterrorism efforts, is illegal and should be shut down. The findings are laid out in a 238-page report, scheduled for release by Thursday and obtained by The New York Times ….

In its report, the board lays out what may be the most detailed critique of the government’s once-secret legal theory behind the program: that a law known as Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which allows the F.B.I. to obtain business records deemed “relevant” to an investigation, can be legitimately interpreted as authorizing the N.S.A. to collect all calling records in the country.

The program “lacks a viable legal foundation under Section 215, implicates constitutional concerns under the First and Fourth Amendments, raises serious threats to privacy and civil liberties as a policy matter, and has shown only limited value,” the report said. “As a result, the board recommends that the government end the program.”

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The report also … contains the first official acknowledgment that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court produced no judicial opinion detailing its legal rationale for the program until last August, even though it had been issuing orders to phone companies for the records and to the N.S.A. for how it could handle them since May 2006.

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The privacy board was unanimous in recommending a series of immediate changes to the program.

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In 2006, the Bush administration persuaded the surveillance court to begin authorizing the program based on the Patriot Act under a theory the Obama administration would later embrace.

But the privacy board’s report criticized that, saying that the legal theory was a “subversion” of the law’s intent, and that the program also violated the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.

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The report also scrutinizes in detail a handful of investigations in which the program was used, finding “no instance in which the program directly contributed to the discovery of a previously unknown terrorist plot or the disruption of a terrorist attack.”

Category: Think Tank, War/Defense

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4 Responses to “Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board Says NSA Spying Is ILLEGAL AND UNNECESSARY”

  1. VennData says:

    OK. If they broke the laws then people should go to jail. Which PEOPLE did this group of ambitious folks say should be going to jail?

    Nobody. Why? Because every USE is court-ordered. The vote was 3-2. Use of the records that the phone companies etc already have. Are the phone companies breaking the law too? Which people are going to jail if the law was broken?

    I know one: the guy that belongs in jail is the guy who STOLE NSA files.

    • ilsm says:

      The criminals hanged at Nuremburg appealed to authority they were only following orders.

      Logical fallacy appealing to authority when the authority is wrong.

      How corrupt organizations work.

      Time to look at corrupt judges and the corrupt organization..

  2. Derektheunder says:

    This event and the items preceding on the matter makes one wonder why there is any remaining debate as to whether the surveillance will continue. Our liberties in the US are nothing but a mirage if it doesn’t come to an abrupt end.

  3. jbegan says:

    Two weeks ago, Target said as many as 110 million accounts were hacked… That is 1/3 of all Americans. If you consider that many don’t shop Target, or are too young to shop Target, the possible number according to Target is close to 1 out of every 2 Americans. When you consider the financial damage to our people, and compare that to the total waste of money, with no results that we spend on the NSA, you have to ask “why are our efforts not directed to a real threat”, rather than illegally spying on American citizens?