NSA Report Details Surveillance Violated U.S. Citizens’ Privacy Rights

The National Security Agency released a report which revealed that some of its analysts used their access to collection methods to spy on their girlfriends and spouses. Others committed security violations by transmitting classified information to unauthorized recipients. Report is, of course, heavily redacted and very sparse given the millions of pieces of metadata that the NSA collects on everyone.

Here’s a brief description from an article at The Hill:

Covering NSA activities from mid-2001 to 2013, the heavily-redacted reports document possible abuses, including instances of employees emailing classified information to unauthorized recipients or issuing “overly broad or poorly constructed data queries that potentially targeted” Americans.

……One of the released reports, from 2012, said an NSA analyst “searched her spouse’s personal telephone directory without his knowledge to obtain names and telephone numbers for targeting.” The analyst was “advised to cease her activities.”

In another case from 2012, information on a U.S. citizen was “disseminated to a foreign partner” before later being recalled and its deletion confirmed, according to the report.

In 2009, a U.S. Army sergeant received punishment, including a reduction in rank, after he used an NSA system “to target his wife,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

……The NSA, though, said that the “vast majority” of cases “involve unintentional technical or human error.”

“In the very few cases that involve the intentional misuse of a signals intelligence system, a thorough investigation is completed, the results are reported to the IOB [Intelligence Oversight Board] and the Department of Justice as required,” the agency said in a statement.

It happens “by mistake” all the time. The NSA collects billions of bits of information from cyberspace and cell phones. Most of it isn’t filtered for “terrorism”. James R. Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, lied when he claimed that only foreigners outside the U.S. can be “targeted”. Clapper committed perjury before Congress when he insisted that the NSA ‘does not collect any type of data’ on millions of Americans. The NSA routinely collects a wide range of data on individuals, including ‘incidental’ communications from everyone in within their sphere of friends and relatives.  If the NSA focus is on internal Islamic terrorist threats, fine.  But apparently, the surveillance net is set to trap everyone, regardless of who they are.

Having said that, you can bet the private emails and phone calls of Clapper and his colleagues in the NSA hierarchy aren’t subjected to scrutiny.

If any of the national security agencies in this country have bona fide intelligence on terrorist threats in this country, and believe me there are plenty, then by all means, I want them to use every resource they have to get so far up their ass, they’ll feel like they’re getting a colonoscopy.

There needs to be strict, common sense oversight based on verified indications and warnings. The problem is, any power created for clandestine use can be abused.

The erosion of America’s civil and personal liberties has taken on evil proportions.  Obama’s abuse of power in particular, is unprecedented.

It’s not just the government, private omnipresent companies like Google are doing the same thing. They collaborate with government agencies in exchange for political favors.

The line between security and liberty has been crossed. It’s up to the citizens of America to kick their asses back over that line.

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