The Electronic Freedom Foundation has won a victory in its fight with the government in federal court to release a FISA court ruling that found the NSA in violation of the Fourth Amendment, illegally collecting e-mails of tens of thousands of Americans.
NSA illegally collected thousands of emails before Fisa court halted program
by Spencer Ackerman, The Guardian
Declassified court ruling from 2011 found government ‘disclosed substantial misrepresentation’ of data collection program
In his 86-page opinion, declassified on Wednesday, Judge John Bates wrote that the government informed the court that the “volume and nature of the information it has been collecting is fundamentally different from what the court had been led to believe”.
The ruling is one of three documents released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and comes amid growing public and congressional concern over the scope of NSA surveillance programs. [..]
Wholly domestic communications are banned from the NSA’s collection under section 702 of the 2008 Fisa Amendments Act. An NSA document leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden and published by the Guardian on August 9 referred to an October 2011 change in the rules, by which the NSA must purge data it improperly collected but that said the NSA could still search its so-called “702” databases for “certain US person names and identifiers,” though not until an “effective oversight process” was implemented.
Senator Ron Wyden, a member of the intelligence committee, refers to the NSA’s still-current authorities to query those databases for US person information as a “backdoor search” loophole.
“The ruling states that the NSA has knowingly acquired tens of thousands of wholly domestic communications under section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, even though this law was specifically written to prohibit the warrantless acquisition of wholly domestic communications,” Wyden said.
“The FISA Court has noted that this collection violates the spirit of the law, but the government has failed to address this concern in the two years since this ruling was issued. This ruling makes it clear that FISA Section 702, as written, is insufficient to adequately protect the civil liberties and privacy rights of law-abiding Americans and should be reformed.”
Anchor and managing editor for “Dan Rather Reports” on AXS-TV, Dan Rather joined Rachel Maddow to talk about the abuse of power and general bungling undermines the credibility of the US and calls into question how the “war on terror’ has been conducted over the last 12 years since 9/11.
The NSA has “built a surveillance network that covers more Americans’ Internet communications than officials have publicly disclosed, current and former officials say. The system has the capacity to reach roughly 75% of all U.S. Internet traffic in the hunt for foreign intelligence, including a wide array of communications by foreigners and Americans.”