Posts filed under “War/Defense”

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

NSA Apologists Try to Smear Snowden

NSA Apologists Try to Smear Snowden as a “Russian Spy” … Exactly Like Authorities Tried to Smear Daniel Ellsberg, Ben Franklin and Samuel Adams ~~~ But Even the FBI and NSA Say There’s No Evidence that Snowden Worked With Others ~~~ While NSA apologists like Mike Rogers say that Snowden is a Russian spy, the…Read More

Category: Think Tank, War/Defense

We Vanquish Terrorism When We Tap Into the Huge Reserve of Courage Within Each One of Us, and Refuse To Be Terrorized   Northwestern professor Peter Ludlow writes in the New York Times: Philosophers have long noted the utility of fear to the state. Machiavelli notoriously argued that a good leader should induce fear in…Read More

Category: Think Tank, War/Defense

Spying On Metadata

NSA Spying On “Metadata” Is As Bad As Listening to the Content of Our Phone Calls … Or WORSE Why Spying On Metadata Is Even MORE Intrusive than Listening to Content The government has sought to reassure us that it is only tracking “metadata” such as the time and place of our phone calls, and…Read More

Category: Legal, Think Tank, War/Defense

Why Does Anyone Still Believe the NSA?

Only a FOOL Still Believes the NSA   The NSA and other intelligence officials have been repeatedly caught lying about their spying programs. 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…Read More

Category: Think Tank, War/Defense

NSA Spying On Congress

What It Really Means The NSA pretty much admitted to spying on Congress this week. It’s not the first time.  David Sirota notes: When I asked U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) if the NSA was keeping files on his colleagues, he recounted a meeting between NSA officials and lawmakers in the lead-up to a closely…Read More

Category: Legal, War/Defense

Clues to Future Snowden Leaks Found In His Past

Work for Covert NSA Facility at University of Maryland May Be Hint Only a tiny fraction of Snowden’s documents have been published. What’s still to come? We believe one hint comes from Snowden’s past as a security specialist at one of one the NSA’s covert facilities at the University of Maryland. Pre-Crime and the NSA…Read More

Category: Think Tank, War/Defense

The Big Lie About NSA Spying

Even Before 9/11, NSA Knew In Real-Time Which Countries Both Parties to Phone Calls Were In In finding the NSA’s metadata collection program legal today, Judge William Pauley III ruled: The September 11th terrorist attacks revealed, in the starkest terms, just how dangerous and interconnected the world is. While Americans depended on technology for the…Read More

Category: Legal, Think Tank, War/Defense

Military Law Expert: Obama Should Pardon Snowden

How Can Obama Let Criminals Like Clapper Go … Yet Go After Snowden? Professor Jonathan Turley is one of the nation’s top military and constitutional law experts. Turley: Has held a top-secret clearance since the Reagan administration Is the second most cited law professor in the country Has worked as both the CBS and NBC…Read More

Category: Think Tank, War/Defense

If You Want to Rein In the NSA, HERE’s How to Do It

There’s An Easy Technical Fix To A Good Chunk of Our Spy Problems Bill Binney is the high-level NSA executive who created the agency’s mass surveillance program for digital information. A 32-year NSA veteran widely regarded as a “legend” within the agency, Binney was the senior technical director within the agency and managed thousands of…Read More

Category: Think Tank, War/Defense