Surprise! NSA Violated Privacy Rules 2,776 Times In One Year

Unfortunately, Americans aren’t up in arms over the revelations from Edward Snowden, and will probably yawn at this Washington Post report

The National Security Agency has broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times each year since Congress granted the agency broad new powers in 2008, according to an internal audit and other top-secret documents.

Most of the infractions involve unauthorized surveillance of Americans or foreign intelligence targets in the United States, both of which are restricted by statute and executive order. They range from significant violations of law to typographical errors that resulted in unintended interception of U.S. e-mails and telephone calls.

The documents, provided earlier this summer to The Washington Post by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, include a level of detail and analysis that is not routinely shared with Congress or the special court that oversees surveillance. In one of the documents, agency personnel are instructed to remove details and substitute more generic language in reports to the Justice Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

The Obama administration has provided almost no public information about the NSA’s compliance record. In June, after promising to explain the NSA’s record in “as transparent a way as we possibly can,” Deputy Attorney General James Cole described extensive safeguards and oversight that keep the agency in check. “Every now and then, there may be a mistake,” Cole said in congressional testimony.

Most of what is noted seems to be “errors”, which include operator errors, such as not following standard procedures and training issues, along with computer errors. Makes one feel safe, eh?

The NSA audit obtained by The Post, dated May 2012, counted 2,776 incidents in the preceding 12 months of unauthorized collection, storage, access to or distribution of legally protected communications. Most were unintended. Many involved failures of due diligence or violations of standard operating procedure. The most serious incidents included a violation of a court order and unauthorized use of data about more than 3,000 Americans and green-card holders.

The NSA notes that “hey, we’re human, sh*t happens, and really, these were just a tiny percent of all the things we do, no need to worry, we promise we’re really good”. The report only covers the Ft. Meade and Washington area stations, not the others scattered around, otherwise the numbers would be much bigger.

James R. Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence, has acknowledged that the court found the NSA in breach of the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, but the Obama administration has fought a Freedom of Information lawsuit that seeks the opinion.

One has to wonder just how worse the situation actually is, and unsurprisingly Team Obama is against transparency and making sure that the Civil Rights of Americans aren’t violated. We also have to wonder how many times the NSA intentionally violated the privacy of Americans.

Crossed at Right Wing News and Stop The ACLU.

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7 Responses to “Surprise! NSA Violated Privacy Rules 2,776 Times In One Year”

  1. john says:

    Cheney said the patriot Act was a good idea. Still sees no problem in what the NSA is doing.

  2. gitarcarver says:

    The spying was done contrary to the Patriot Act, john. Cheney has said he thinks the spying helps, but it is illegal.

    Furthermore, Obama and Biden specifically attacked the Patriot Act and its legal provisions. Now they support illegal acts being committed on their watch.

  3. jd says:

    That’s just once every 3 hours around the clock every day for a year. What’s the big whoop?

  4. John doesn’t care, GT, and he loves deflecting attention away from his mancrush Obama.

    Is that sarcasm, jd?

    • jd says:

      How can you get upset when your prez goes on the tonight show and expressly says that we’re not being improperly spied on and then find out that indeed we are once every 3 hours?? I mean that tonight show appearance was clearly a “clown-nose on” moment.

      So, yeah, I’m being a little sarcastic — keeps me sane.

  5. Gail Combs says:

    Since when has any intelligent person ever thought the American Ruling Class had the publics best interest at heart?

    The Republicans start and the Democrats finish or vice versa but the elite’s plans ALWAYS get implemented.

    National Animal Identification started as a World Trade Organization idea in 1995 under Clinton (Cargill VP, Dan Amstutz wrote the Agreement on Agriculture) The push continued under Bush despite major opposition and was finally implemented under Obama even though it was high on the DON’T list at Change.ORG. Heck Bush Sr. Started the WTO and NAFTA push and Clinton finished it.

    The Federal Reserve Act or the Food Safety Modernization Act are also classic examples.

    The only thing that slows them down is tossing out the big hogs and voting in the little piglets.

    The International Monetary Fund shows why:
    Convergence, Interdependence, and Divergence
    Finance & Development, September 2012

    “…New convergence and strengthened interdependence coincide with a third trend, relating to income distribution. In many countries the distribution of income has become more unequal, and the top earners’ share of income in particular has risen dramatically. In the United States the share of the top 1 percent has close to tripled over the past three decades, now accounting for about 20 percent of total U.S. income (Alvaredo and others, 2012)….”

  6. […] of thought that anything approaching Reagan type Conservatism. On Friday we learned about the NSA violated privacy rights 2,776 times at their D.C. area data centers erroneously. This was a report that only discussed […]

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