Report: NSA Violated Privacy Rules “Thousands of Times” Under Warrantless Surveillance Program

National_Security_Agency.svgPresident_Barack_ObamaWhile President Obama continues to tell the public that there is no widespread domestic surveillance program and denies the violation of privacy rights, another report again contradicts those statements. According to the Washington Post, the National Security Agency broke privacy rules thousands of times every year under the warrantless surveillance program. Moreover, it is important to keep in mind that civil libertarians view the programs themselves to be violations of Constitution, but the Administration violated even those rules. Moreover, this information did not come from Congress or the White House. It came from Edward Snowden. You remember him. He is the guy Obama said is no patriot and could have taken a different course to address his concerns. The information reviewed by the Post is more than would have been shared with Congress under current rules.

Some of the “inadvertent” spying is astonishing. For example, the NSA according to this article wanted to listen to calls going to Egypt at area code “20” but made a mistake. That mistake happened to capture a “large number” of calls from “202” — Washington D.C.

The violations also included the unauthorized use of information on more than 3,000 Americans and green-card holders.

Obama insisted that “a court” reviews these programs, though he is referring to the widely ridiculed FISA court which lacks the authority to seriously monitor the program or reject all but a couple applications in its history.

A NSA official is quoted as saying that they are trying to do better and the public needs to trust the agency: “We’re a human-run agency operating in a complex environment with a number of different regulatory regimes, so at times we find ourselves on the wrong side of the line.” Sure, but what if these entire warrantless programs are on “the wrong side of the line”?

Source: Washington Post

106 thoughts on “Report: NSA Violated Privacy Rules “Thousands of Times” Under Warrantless Surveillance Program”

  1. 1000’s of “mistakes” every year are a feature, not a bug. It’s “legal” cover.

  2. Gene,
    I guess I shouldn’t be so hard on Wyden who has attempted to bring this NSA nonsense to the public eye, but it is time for Wyden and other Senators to go on the floor of the Senate and tell what they know.

  3. There is a time to chew bubble gum.
    There is a time to kick ass.
    Now is the time to be all out of bubblegum, Sen. Wyden.

  4. “Ron Wyden Considered Leaking The NSA’s Surveillance Program” … “If you want to play a watchdog role, you try to work within the rules. ”

    Oh please.

    People post the expected Nazi/Nuremberg analogy here and generally get jumped on and on some subjects I just don’t understand that. How did that ‘good German’, ‘just following orders’ work out for people that stood by and let genocide happen. Because we are only talking about the deliberate murder of the constitution instead of millions of people, is the lesson less relevant?

    People like Wyden need to get off the fence. Congress in general needs to get off the fence. If Congress didn’t check their morals, integrity and balls at the door we wouldn’t be in this pickle today. Excuse me if I can’t muster a bunch of sympathy for a politician that just can’t gin up the integrity to do what he was hired to do and took an oath to do. What his statement says to me is “We can’t rock the boat publicly without harming our mandate to try to do some good in secret”. Yea, how’s that worked out so far.

    The sworn-to-secrecy oversight committees are a farce and have been for years.

  5. “NSA report on privacy violations in the first quarter of 2012”

    “This is the full executive summary, with names redacted by The Post, of a classified internal report on breaches of NSA privacy rules and legal restrictions.

    The report covers the period from January through March 2012 and includes comparative data for the full preceding year. Its author is director of oversight and compliance for the NSA’s Signals Intelligence Directorate, but the scope of the report is narrower. Incidents are counted only if they took place within “NSA-Washington,” a term encompassing the Ft. Meade headquarters and nearby facilities. The NSA declined to provide comparable figures for its operations as a whole. A senior intelligence official said only that if all offices and directorates were included, the number of violations would “not double.””


  6. “Ron Wyden Considered Leaking The NSA’s Surveillance Program”

    He could still “leak” the rest of it. Or someone else could.

    “Iceberg.” His word.

    Iceberg. (Confirming.)


    “This is a big deal.” -nick spinelli

    Much bigger than many realize.


    Ron Wyden Considered Leaking The NSA’s Surveillance Program

    The Huffington Post | By Ashley Alman

    Posted: 08/16/2013 10:37 am EDT | Updated: 08/16/2013 3:00 pm EDT

    “Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a fervent opponent of the National Security Agency’s surveillance program, admitted that he considered leaking the program in an interview with Rolling Stone published on Thursday.

    In the interview, Wyden said that he opted to tread softly in his role as a watchdog, despite his disapproval of the program:

    There are very significant limits [on what you can and cannot say], and they are very cumbersome and unwieldy. If you want to play a watchdog role, you try to work within the rules. This is a sensitive subject. A lot of people have just said to me, “Well, you feel so strongly about [these issues] – when you knew this, why didn’t you just go to the floor of the United States Senate and just, you know, read it all [into the record]?” And, of course, anybody who does this kind of work thinks a lot about that. You think about it all the time. I can see why plenty of people would criticize me – progressives and others. I can understand why plenty of people who have views similar to mine would say they would have done it differently.

    Wyden gave Director Of National Intelligence James Clapper an opportunity to come clean on the program earlier this year, asking Clapper if the NSA collects “any type of data at all on millions of Americans” during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing.

    Clapper responded, “No, sir,” and later claimed he gave the “least untruthful” answer possible.

    “They decided to let his inaccurate answer stand on the public record, until about a month after the Snowden disclosures,” Wyden told Rolling Stone. “Even then, they started off trying to defend his answer, before finally admitting publicly that it had been inaccurate.”

    In June, Wyden publicly denounced the government’s practice of “vacuuming up the phone records of millions of law-abiding Americans” during an American Society of News Editors Panel, saying the program could inconsequentially reveal a lot of personal information.

    “I have to believe the civil liberties of millions of American have been violated,” Wyden said.

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who has defended the NSA’s spying program and called for the prosecution of Edward Snowden, has now spoken out against the NSA’s actions. In a statement on Friday, Pelosi responded to recent reports that the NSA violated privacy rules thousands of times per year, calling the reports “extremely disturbing.”

    “Congress must conduct rigourous oversight to ensure that all incidents of non-compliance are reported to the oversight committees and the FISA court in a timely and comprehensive manner, and that appropriate steps are taken to ensure violations are not repeated,” she said.”

  8. Well, have you ever seen someone lie so much, that they can actually still keep a straight face even when their lying

  9. At the rate things are going conspiracy theorists themselves will just throw up their hands and say: “Our work is done here. No sense in trying to make this stuff up. The administration is doing a fine job itself.”

  10. Hey! I think I have just figured out James Clapper’s defense at his perjury trial. “I spoke the truth when I said that we didn’t ‘wittingly’ spy on millions of Americans since, obviously, we haven’t any wits.”

    1. That “not wittingly” appellation was supposed to be a wiggle word that would give room to claim him not be committing perjury.
      The problem is, it was very wittingly, and there is not solace there on that word.

  11. So the NSA has employees “keeping us safe” who do not know that you must dial “011” before you can phone any other country from the United States? I mean, if they don’t know that, then what hope have we that they could then grasp the concept of “country codes” and “City or Area Codes,” much less the idea of seven-digit home phone numbers?

    I can almost believe that President Obama and his miscreant minions do not “wittingly” trample on our rights and freedoms since they show so little evidence of possessing wits.

  12. The whole metaphorical thing about “drawing lines” puts me in mind of a conversation I once had with a diplomat from Sri Lanka. I told him that I had read somewhere about his government refusing the American military’s offer of assistance in dealing with Sri Lanka’s Tamil insurgency. Yes, he told me, “we felt that if the Americans come, they will only draw an arbitrary line through a temporary problem and make it permanent.”

    I really wish that officials of the American government — most especially high-ranking military officers — would not speak so cavalierly about drawing lines, since inevitably they then begin to babble maniacally about “towing” them.

  13. “Feels like the Summer of 1973.” (nick)

    Ah, yes … July, 1973 … Alexander Butterfield testified that Nixon had a secret taping system

  14. Gene H.
    1, August 16, 2013 at 6:58 pm
    As the adage goes, “Once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, three times is a pattern and a thousands of times a year means you’re %&*(*&%%*$ lying.”


    Or they are really, really, really stupid … which is just as scary.

  15. “… but what if these entire warrantless programs are on ‘the wrong side of the line’?” — Jonathan Turley

    It seems, professor, that you do not — or at least, not always — subscribe to the U.S. government’s assertion that it really can do a wrong thing the right way, like destroying a village in order to save it. So please skip the rhetorical questions and just come out in the declarative mood and boldly say what you really mean. Something like:

    “Do not draw a line in the first place that will only put you on the wrong side of it.”

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