Report: NSA Allowed To Use “Inadvertently Acquired” Communications

President_Barack_ObamaNational_Security_Agency.svgWe have seen a continuing array of spins by the White House and its allies to excuse the massive assault on privacy in the recently revealed warrantless surveillance programs. This effort has included perjury by high-ranking officials, an effort to redefine privacy in a new surveillance-friendly image, ever increasing claims of averting “plots” and misdirection toward other “threats” to privacy. However, one of the consistent claims has been that no content of communications was reviewed — an argument that itself is fallacious. Now however it appears that even that assurance is false. There are various reports that the content of the warrantless communications was accessible. Now, it has also been confirmed that there are two documents dated July 2009 and signed by Attorney General Holder allows the NSA to use “inadvertently acquired” communications.

We have previously discussed the repeatedly insistence by Obama that his Administration would go to a “court” for the review of any actual communications. As noted earlier, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), or secret court, is treated as if it were a real court or had some meaningful powers of review. Obama previously told Charlie Rose, “That’s why we set up the FISA court.” Of course, he did not set up the FISA court which has been around for decades and widely ridiculed as an absurd rubberstamp for the intelligence agency. Only a couple of applications have been denied in the history of that “court.” When I had occasion to get into the court as a young intern with NSA, it set in place a lifelong opposition to it as an insult to the very concept of legal process. For Obama to cite this “court” as the guarantee of transparency is nothing short of insulting. This is the court that classifies (at the demand of Obama’s Administration) the very legal interpretations used to justify massive warrantless searches of citizens.

It now appears that this “court” agreed to allow the Administration to use the content of communications that are inadvertently gathered. In addition, the latest report from Glenn Greenwald and James Ball state “The broad scope of the court orders, and the nature of the procedures set out in the documents, appear to clash with assurances from President Obama and senior intelligence officials that the NSA could not access Americans’ call or e-mail information without warrants.”

The FISA court reportedly allowed the NSA to keep data “that could potentially contain details of U.S. persons” for up to five years, and to retain and use “inadvertently acquired” domestic communications that contain “usable intelligence, information on criminal activity, threat of harm to people or property, are encrypted, or are believed to contain any information relevant to cybersecurity.”

As previously discussed, it is not clear why citizens should believe assurance from the government and Congress given the refusal to deal with past perjury by people like Clapper or the ever-climbing claims made by officials. In the meantime, Eric Holder is continuing his role as the President’s “sin eater” in ignoring such admitted false statements to avoid enforcing the criminal laws against Administration officials like Clapper. So much for the person a MSNBC contributor calls the “Moses of our time.”

The latest report states that “the material collected can be retained, if it is useful, though in a segregated database.” If true, it would be the ultimate expression of the new privacy under Obama. The question is no longer whether it is constitutional, just whether it is useful.

Source: Guardian

35 thoughts on “Report: NSA Allowed To Use “Inadvertently Acquired” Communications

  1. Ross 1, June 21, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    We should never forget we are going against “centuries” of legal precedence today. The Magna Carta was established in the year 1215 and the Writ of Habeas Corpus was established around the year 1100 – this was established Old English law and the way civilized societies were supposed to operate.

    ===========================
    Yes, but after that came “the king can do no wrong.”

    We have yet another myth we must deal with:

  2. Could a small time inventor like Edison or Henry Ford have created their innovations in today’s lawless police state? Campaign contributors drive the surveillance/national security industry (not facts) – would that qualify as “significant intelligence”?

    It may not be as far fetched as you think. The ACLU recently had a case in front of the US Supreme Court where corporations were trying to patent human nature (breast cancer genes). This same court also defined Eminent Domain to now include private companies.

    CoinTelPro and other programs can be used as a form of detention so why not label an Edison as a terrorist? The honest answer when operating outside constitutional boundaries, nobody really knows what they are doing.

  3. From BoingBoing regarding a Guardian article. The British and Americans are acting hand in glove to sweep up communications and share them around.

    “Brit spies GCHQ harvest all undersea cable comms, all UK calls and data, share with 850,000+ NSA spooks and contractors”

    “The Guardian has published information from another Edward Snowden leak, this one detailing a British wiretapping program by the UK spy agency GCHQ that puts Prism to shame. The GCHQ program, called Tempora, stores all submarine cable traffic and all domestic traffic (Internet packets and recordings of phone-calls) for 30 days, using NSA tools to sort and search it; the quid-pro-quo being that the NSA gets to access this data, too. The program is reportedly staffed by 300 GCHQ spies and 250 NSA spies, and the data produced by the taps is made available to 850,000 NSA employees and contractors. This is all carried out under the rubric of RIPA, the controversial Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, a UK electronic spying law passed by Tony Blair’s Labour government.”

    http://boingboing.net/2013/06/21/brit-spies-gchq-harvest-all-un.html

    Link to the source article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/jun/21/gchq-cables-secret-world-communications-nsa

  4. This just in:

    U.S. charges Snowden with espionage

    “Federal prosecutors have filed a sealed criminal complaint against Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked a trove of documents about top-secret surveillance programs, and the United States has asked Hong Kong to detain him on a provisional arrest warrant, according to U.S. officials.

    Snowden was charged with espionage, theft and conversion of government property, the officials said.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-charges-snowden-with-espionage/2013/06/21/507497d8-dab1-11e2-a016-92547bf094cc_story.html?hpid=z1

  5. I predict that the Democratic Party will lose much of its following and support because of the Prism fiasco and betrayal by Obama of the national trust. Spying on us is going to erupt. The Snowden prosecution is a big mistake. The GOP gophers are not better but they might put up some guy like Rand Paul on an individual rights plank and win in the next Presidential election. That is where I see it going. Hilary has to denounce the NSA programs or retire back to New York with Billy Clinton and call it quits. This indictment of the whistleblower is a big mistake Obama.

  6. Say, Mr. President & the NSA…. Do I have to report my bowel movements to you…. Or do you already have your noses up my butt???? Just asking….

  7. Anonymously posted : Thanks for the post. I had not seen the eff.org before. I reviewed some of the cases which they litigated. This is a very important org and I am glad to know about it.

  8. lottakatz 1, June 21, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    From BoingBoing regarding a Guardian article. The British and Americans are acting hand in glove to sweep up communications and share them around.
    ==================================
    It has been that way for a long time (A Tale of Coup Cities – 4).

  9. Thanks Dredd. You might like this, it’s an excellent observation IMO and right up your alley, so much so that you’ve probably read it already.🙂

  10. Couldn’t figure out which column to post this to but it’s not just federal
    “In 2010, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli led a witch-hunt against respected climate scientist Michael Mann, simply because he didn’t like his academic conclusions. He subpoenaed thousands of Professor Mann’s emails from his time at the University of Virginia — a gross and unnecessary overreach of his role as Attorney General.” (even the VA Supreme Court agreed)”
    May have been subpoenaed but what did he have to do that? None I would think.

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