A new report establishes that the National Security Agency’s violations of federal law are much broader in scope than previously known, including the interception without warrants of the emails and telephone calls of American citizens. Once again, the question is where the congressional intelligence committee were during these continued violations and why citizens should place any trust in members who are tasked with the oversight of these programs.
When the illegal NSA warrantless programs were first revealed, General Michael Hayden insisted that the “experts” at the NSA general counsel’s office had made sure that everything that the agency did was entirely lawful. Many of us scoffed at the representation and the finding of the NSA GC, but it is clear that the office continued to approve facially unlawful programs. (Ironically, General Hayden is now my neighbor after buying a house down the street from us).
Democrats in Congress who were fully aware of the unlawful surveillance program have moved to block every investigation and civil lawsuit. The program, despite the “legal experts” at NSA, has been widely declared as facially illegal. President Obama has joined the effort to quash any civil lawsuits, here.
This report continues the patter of “over-collection” and the Obama Administration is again treating it as something little more than an oversight. Yet, the violations clearly show a conscious effort to intercept obviously protected materials. After all, it was only a few years ago that there was a raging controversy of the FBI intercepting even the titles of emails. Here the NSA was acquiring the entire content of personal messages. Not only that, the NSA reported tried to wiretap a member of Congress. This is precisely the result of Congress giving the NSA broad discretion to conduct warrantless surveillance despite a long proven history of abuses.
Yet, not only has President Obama moved to bar any citizens suing over NSA programs, but he is continuing this program under the same conditions secured by George Bush.
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