Another NSA Bombshell

All of you people who said there was zero evidence that the NSA had ever abused their authority? Feeling stupid yet?

The National Security Agency has broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times each year since Congress granted the agency broad new powers in 2008, according to an internal audit and other top-secret documents.

Most of the infractions involve unauthorized surveillance of Americans or foreign intelligence targets in the United States, both of which are restricted by statute and executive order. They range from significant violations of law to typographical errors that resulted in unintended interception of U.S. e-mails and telephone calls.

The documents, provided earlier this summer to The Washington Post by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, include a level of detail and analysis that is not routinely shared with Congress or the special court that oversees surveillance. In one of the documents, agency personnel are instructed to remove details and substitute more generic language in reports to the Justice Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Just one of these incidents involved unauthorized information on 3000 individuals. In another, the FISA court was not notified for months about a program.

Astoundingly, the NSA/Obama defenders are not moved. The NSA claims that this is OK because it’s a small percentage of what they do. Let me restate that. The NSA is saying that thousands of illegal and unauthorized surveillance incidents every year are tiny compared to the authorized surveillance. LGF*, by far the biggest NSA apologist going, somehow claims this report vindicates the NSA because it shows oversight. Glenn Greenwald has responded with the obvious question: if NSA will admit to breaking the rules thousands of times a year, how many times a year do they not admit to it?

(*Johnson demonstrates his inability to understand declarative English sentences by confusing the statement that one incident involved 3000 people with a belief that only 3000 total people had their rights violated. In fact, the article states the NSA has no way of knowing how many people had their privacy violated. In one incident, their computers confused the Washington area code with the area code for Egypt. That incident alone may have violated the privacy of hundreds of thousands of people.)

There’s also this:

The May 2012 audit, intended for the agency’s top leaders, counts only incidents at the NSA’s Fort Meade headquarters and other ­facilities in the Washington area. Three government officials, speak­ing on the condition of anonymity to discuss classified matters, said the number would be substantially higher if it included other NSA operating units and regional collection centers.

So yeah, this is just the tip of the iceberg. And this is just the “data”. “Data” does not include trillions of pieces of metadata on phone calls.

And as for that wonderful oversight that Obama’s defenders keep telling us about?

Despite the quadrupling of the NSA’s oversight staff after a series of significant violations in 2009, the rate of infractions increased throughout 2011 and early 2012. An NSA spokesman declined to disclose whether the trend has continued since last year.

I have to hand it to Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald and the WaPo. They really are giving Obama, the NSA and the ODDS sufferers enough rope to hang themselves. They put out some documents, the bootlickers scramble to explain that this is no big deal and then they put another document showing Obama’s defenders to be completely full of it.

It would be fun if it didn’t involve the systematic evisceration of the Fourth Amendment.

Update: I want to quote this at length, since a lot of you are not on Twitter. Conor Friersdorf got on a roll last night about this:

I agree with everything up there. Every piece of additional information we get is more and more alarming. Yet the apologists keep doubling down and insisting that we’re not a police state … yet. Do we need to wait until we are a police state before we push back?

Barry Goldwater said that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. I’m not worried about our nation being done in by people who are too protective of our civil liberties.

Comments are closed.

  1. InsipiD

    Awesome.

    All of you people who said there was zero evidence that the NSA had ever abused their authority?

    And how many people did that? Like 3?

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  2. Hal_10000 *

    insipid, all the defenders of NSA said that. They blasted Snowden for noting the potential for abuse but being unable to show actual instances of it.

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  3. AlexInCT

    Seriously, anyone here think they collect the data just to store it? These are people, like you and me. With the ability to abuse the data so readily, especially if they believe nobody will know, why would anyone figure that given the chance they would not do it? I was not happy with what they did under Boosh, while pretending they were doing it for security and only targeting people outside the US, and I remember the left being batshit crazy about the same. My fear was that the line would eventually be crossed, and once that happened, an administration with an enemy’s list would abuse it.

    It is not a coincidence that it was democrats that immediately took the abuse to a new level either. Democrats have enemy lists. It’s SOP for their way of doing things. They know there is no media scrutiny of what they do, so they figured they could do this and still have the shills defend them, just like we have been seeing for the last few months. They have told us repeatedly that they thought the real enemy was the conservatives, and especially the small government Tea Party types. They did not equate sympathy or allegiance with Tea Party ideals/objectives with racism and terrorism just for kicks either. They truly believe that anyone advocating smaller government is an existential threat to their way of living and plans for the future. I have no doubt that the libs don’t feel Islam is as big of a problem, because despite their pretense otherwise, nobody does violence like the left does (look at Obama’s drone policy). Hence the domestic spying.

    I am certain that their thinking is that they can nuke the mooslims, but dealing with the locals that do not want to be serfs is more problematic issue.

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  4. Section8

    I think it was Peter King or someone else on the GOP that was getting on Obama’s ass for recently stating that he wants to make this all more “transparent” even though that’s laughable. Way to go assholes, instead of laughing with the rest of us at that statement, at every turn you have to make sure you get one up on looking bad. I think it was King who also said none of this should even be debatable regarding the NSA. These guys don’t just need to be thrown out of office, they need to be thrown out of the damn country.

    Thumb up 1