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Posted by on Aug 16, 2013 in Law, Politics, Science & Technology | 6 comments

NSA violates rules thousands of times a year

Since 2008, when Congress (under Democratic party control) “granted the [NSA] broad new powers to conduct surveillance,” the agency has exceeded those broad powers thousands of times each year.

And didn’t report to its oversight staff.

This is in direct contrast to how most people would interpret Congressional testimony:

In June, after promising to explain the NSA’s record in “as transparent a way as we possibly can,” Deputy Attorney General James Cole described extensive safeguards and oversight that keep the agency in check. “Every now and then, there may be a mistake,” Cole said in congressional testimony.


But a single “incident” in February 2012 involved the unlawful retention of 3,032 files that the surveillance court had ordered the NSA to destroy, according to the May 2012 audit. Each file contained an undisclosed number of telephone call records.


The NSA uses the term “incidental” when it sweeps up the records of an American while targeting a foreigner or a U.S. person who is believed to be involved in terrorism. Official guidelines for NSA personnel say that kind of incident, pervasive under current practices, “does not constitute a .?.?. violation” and “does not have to be reported” to the NSA inspector general for inclusion in quarterly reports to Congress. Once added to its databases, absent other restrictions, the communications of Americans may be searched freely.

Remember: all of this investigatory digging? It’s happened subsequent to Edward Snowden. Had he kept silent, do you really think the NSA would be in the news like this?

From the other side of the pond:

All too human (via The Economist)

WHEN James Cole, the deputy attorney-general, explained to Congress in June how the National Security Agency (NSA) is held in check, he conceded, “Every now and then, there may be a mistake.” Barack Obama insisted last week that it really was just every…