Newly declassified memos detail extent
of improper Obama-era NSA spying
by John Solomon
July 25, 2017
The National Security Agency and FBI violated specific civil liberty protections during the Obama administration by improperly searching and disseminating raw intelligence on Americans or failing to promptly delete unauthorized intercepts, according to newly declassified memos that provide some of the richest detail to date on the spy agencies’ ability to obey their own rules.
The memos reviewed by The Hill were publicly released on July 11 through Freedom of Information Act litigation by the American Civil Liberties Union. ACLU has THIS starting point dedicated to NSA surveillance. They also have SPY Files detailing by agency. However, I did attempt to find those “publicly available documents” discussed and have been unable to do so.
They detail specific violations that the NSA or FBI disclosed to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court or the Justice Department’s national security division during President Obama’s tenure between 2009 and 2016. The intelligence community isn’t due to report on compliance issues for 2017, the first year under the Trump administration, until next spring.
Americans should be alarmed that the NSA is vacuuming up their emails and phone calls without a warrant,” said Patrick Toomey, an ACLU staff attorney in New York who helped pursue the FOIA litigation. “The NSA claims it has rules to protect our privacy, but it turns out those rules are weak, full of loopholes, and violated again and again.”
The Hill reviewed the new ACLU documents as well as compliance memos released by the NSA inspector general and identified more than 90 incidents where violations specifically cited an impact on Americans. Many incidents involved multiple persons, multiple violations or extended periods of time.
The new documents show that the NSA has, on occasion, exempted itself from its legal obligation to destroy all domestic communications that were improperly intercepted.
Under the law, the NSA is supposed to destroy any intercept if it determines the data was domestically gathered, meaning someone was intercepted on U.S. soil without a warrant when the agency thought they were still overseas. The NSA, however, has said previously it created “destruction waivers” to keep such intercepts in certain cases.
The new documents confirm the NSA has in fact issued such waivers and that it uncovered in 2012 a significant violation in which the waivers were improperly used and the infraction was slow to be reported to the court.
In annual and quarterly compliance reports that have been released in recent years, U.S. intelligence agencies have estimated the number of Section 702 violations has averaged between 0.3 percent and 0.6 percent of the total number of “taskings.” A tasking is an intelligence term that reflects a request to intercept a specific phone number or email address.
The increasing transparency on Section 702 violations is having an impact on both critics and supporters of a law that is up for renewal in Congress at the end of this year. Of concern are the instances in which Americans’ data is incidentally collected and then misused.
Retired House Intelligence Committee Chairman Pete Hoekstra, a Republican who strongly supported the NSA warrantless spying program when it started under President George W. Bush, said he now fears it has now become too big and intrusive.
Read the article HERE along with an informative video interview detailing questions and concerns. (all emphasis is mine)
Also of note: Judicial Watch exposed memos in October 2013 relevant to this same issue. Their press release of November 2013 for the exposure was titled “Emails Reveal Obama Advisers’ Concerns on NSA Surveillance.”
“Judicial Watch announced today that it has it has obtained a series of emails between members of President Obama’s newly created Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies (Review Group) and the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (Oversight Board) that show that the Obama administration advisers had long-standing concerns about the Patriot Act which authorized controversial NSA surveillance of Americans’ telephone and Internet activities.”
“These emails suggest that concerns about NSA surveillance now include advisers to President Obama,” said Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton. “And the emails seem to confirm that the Patriot Act specifically authorized the very type of ‘data mining’ that is now causing so much controversy.”
On May 24, 2017, Judicial Watch Director of Investigations and Research Chris Farrell appeared on “Lou Dobbs Tonight” on the Fox Business Network to discuss how the NSA under Obama routinely violated American privacy protections by conducting illegal searches for years. video
Yet despite all the alarms raised or in video after video of Clapper and NSA testimonies before congress showing that they LIED under oath directly to Congress and the American people about the extent of NSA data collection and its effects or uses/abuses by people for reasons well beyond FISA rules and regulations, NOTHING was done. Congress (ruled by the iron gonad chains of the Democrats) continued to renew their authority.
Obama, from current Democrat frenzies happening now, made use of these ill-gotten bits of information to find ways to destroy the credibility of any he may have considered enemies before the 2016 Presidential Election; and, certainly through his last-minute executive actions and loyal spies, the current administration’s credibility.
From the conservative view-point, ACLU is NOT a group that generally I would look into but in this one matter, I think ALL sources that can bring factual clarity to a very egregious breach of trust between the government NSA and our citizens has to be considered at least from the standpoint of information collection and validation of the unlawful acts.
So Trump was not wrong to bring this up–especially now that we have seen how Obama and his administration both during his own presidency, against President-Elect Trump, and now current administration has weaponized the use of the unmasking of highly specific and confidential information that was never supposed to have been archived or known on American citizens except for criminal case uses involving foreign entities.
To me, this corrupt use/abuse of our rights should invalidate or nullify any investigation based on a Russia meme or any information that pertains to a breach of citizen’s constitutional rights as well as to President Trump, his campaign offices, or anyone in current administration positions. But of course, what do I know, I am neither a lawyer nor extremely wealthy. One does have to wonder though just how the weapon was used by Obama and his troops to contain and command the extremely wealthy and the extremely powerful in the advancement of the destruction of our constitution and sovereignty.
We have heard this for quite a while and have had President Trump tweet many times. Yet the Democrats have continued to castigate Trump and all those raising concerns as “conspiracy” and “ridiculous”. But now The Hill has confirming FOIA emails and documents that totally blow their rants out of the water and raise serious concerns of “big brother” intrusion into our amendment rights. I wonder if they are sweating blood drops worrying about their own snippets?