Saturday, May 27, 2017
The crime not being investigated
By Jim Emerson, staff writer
Obama’s National Security Agency (NSA) routinely collected communications of American citizens since 2001 yet failed to disclose the extent of White House spying; spying which continued unabated until a few days before Donald Trump was elected President. Circa.com's Sara Carter reviewed once top-secret documents that chronicle some of the most serious constitutional abuses to date by the U.S. intelligence community.
In declassified documents made public by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA), Obama’s NSA admitted that its analysts were violating surveillance rules on a regular basis. This pattern of Executive branch overreach, coupled with the timing of the government’s disclosure, resulted in an unusually harsh rebuke of the Obama administration’s practices and principles.
Upstream surveillance was first disclosed by NSA leaker Edward Snowden and “involves the NSA’s bulk interception and searching of Americans’ international internet communications — including emails, chats, and web-browsing traffic.”
The once dependably friendly FISA Court censured administration officials, saying “… the failure to disclose the extent of the violations earlier amounted to an “institutional lack of candor.” “The improper searches constituted a very serious Fourth Amendment issue,” continued the Court in an unsealed document dated April 26, 2017.
From a report by the NSA’s Inspector General: “Since 2011, NSA’s minimization procedures have prohibited use of U.S.-person identifiers to query the results of upstream Internet collections under Section 702.” “The Oct. 26, 2016 notice informed the court that NSA analysts had been conducting such queries in violation of that prohibition, with much greater frequency than had been previously disclosed to the Court.”
In an attempt to justify its actions the NSA cited the so-called Section 702 database which, “allows the intelligence community to conduct surveillance on only specific foreign targets located outside the United States to collect foreign intelligence, including intelligence needed in the fight against international terrorism and cyber threats."
Circa reported that since Obama loosened the Intelligence collection privacy rules in 2011, the Intelligence Agency increased data searches of Americans and revealed the identities of those American targets in intelligence reports. Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice stated that the activities were legal under Obama’s minimization rule changes and claimed that the intelligence agencies were strictly monitored to avoid abuses.
So who was monitoring the administration and the Intelligence agencies during this time? Certainly not the squeamish members of House or Senate oversite committees.