Tags: Barack Obama | NSA/Surveillance | national security | agency | privacy | NSA

Report: Obama's NSA Violated Privacy Protections, Docs Say

Image: Report: Obama's NSA Violated Privacy Protections, Docs Say
Former President Barack Obama (AP Photo)

Wednesday, 24 May 2017 07:38 PM

The National Security Agency under former President Barack Obama frequently violated privacy protections while scouring through overseas intercepts – and failed to disclose the extent of the problems until late last fall, Circa reported Wednesday.

According to the outlet, declassified documents unveil serious constitutional abuses by the intelligence community – showing more than 5 percent of searches seeking internet data on Americans inside the NSA's controversial Section 702 database violated safeguards.

The Obama administration disclosed the problems at a closed-door hearing last Oct. 26 before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, Circa reported.

The court even rebuked administration officials, saying the failure to disclose the extent of the violations earlier amounted to an "institutional lack of candor" and the improper searches constituted a "very serious Fourth Amendment issue," Circa reported, citing a court document from April.

Circa has reported there was a three-fold increase in NSA data searches about Americans – and a rise in the unmasking of American citizens' identities – since 2011 when so-called minimization rule changes were made by the Obama administration.

Though Obama administration officials have said the unmaskings were legal and intelligence agencies were monitored to avoid abuses, Circa reported the FISA court and NSA's own internal watchdog found otherwise.

"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 April court ruling declared, Circa reported. "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."

"If we determine this to be true, this is an enormous abuse of power," Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., told Fox News, per Circa. "This will dwarf all other stories. There are hundreds and hundreds of people."

The American Civil Liberties Union called the lack of oversight "shocking."

"You have these problems going on for years that only come to the attention of the court late in the game, and then it takes additional years to change its practices," said Neema Singh Guliani, the ACLU's legislative counsel in Washington, Circa reported.

"I think it does call into question all those defenses that we kept hearing, that we always have a robust oversight structure and we have culture of adherence to privacy standards."

The NSA acknowledged it self-disclosed the mass violations to the court last fall; in April it suspended the type of searches that were violating the rules, even deleting prior collected data on Americans to avoid any further violations, Circa reported.

"NSA will no longer collect certain internet communications that merely mention a foreign intelligence target," the agency said in the statement dated April 28.

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The National Security Agency under former President Barack Obama frequently violated privacy protections while scouring through overseas intercepts – and failed to disclose the extent of the problems until late last fall, Circa reported Wednesday.
national security, agency, privacy, NSA
451
2017-38-24
Wednesday, 24 May 2017 07:38 PM
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