U.S. Officials Declassify Documents on NSA Surveillance Program’s Origins

Former president Bush was first to authorize NSA mass surveillance practices

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Updated Dec. 21, 2013, 5:21 p.m.

Documents declassified Saturday detail how the National Security Agency’s mass data collection was first authorized under President George W. Bush.

The spying was approved in Oct. 2001, one month after the Sept. 11 attacks, the Associated Press reports. Renewed every 30 to 60 days by Bush, the Terrorist Surveillance Program evolved into the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which required a secret court to approve the continuation of bulk phone and Internet data collection. Bush did not disclose the program until 2005.

“There has never been a comprehensive government release…that wove the whole story together – the timeline of authorizing the programs and the gradual transition to (court) oversight,” said Mark Rumold, an attorney representing a civil liberties group suing the NSA. “Everybody knew that happened, but this is the first time I’ve seen the government confirm those twin aspects.”

The announcement from Director of National Intelligence James Clapper is the latest in a string of efforts aimed at defending NSA surveillance in the wake of leaked documents by former contractor Edward Snowden. 

Clapper also revealed court documents from previous intelligence directors who argued in favor of keeping the program secret in compliance with a federal court order. The U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California ordered the White House to publicly disclose documents on why releasing information would threaten national security.

Earlier this week a federal judge ruled NSA’s collection program unconstitutional, citing little evidence that any terror plots had been thwarted by the program. A presidential advisory panel also proposed 46 changes to NSA practices, including seeking a court order for each NSA search.

The Justice Department and the director of national intelligence’s office did not return phone calls to the AP.

[AP]

6 comments
roknsteve
roknsteve

It's interesting that republicans never get the blame for anything.   Someone else is always the bad guy.  They play with matches burn down the house and it's the neighbor's fault.  They always have a "Get Out Of Jail Free" card.

RB1
RB1

Your right PacificSage, it does reflect how uninvolved Americans are to such an important issue.  

We are all so tired of the corruption and empowerment grabs, that we have begun to tune them out. This issue is a decade late being brought to the forefront, but we as a society do need to confront this issue. If we just say: "yea its OK during war" then we have to look at what constitutes a physical or political war period. This country has had physical and political wars that have gone on for decades. Then these special rules that deprive us of our freedoms and equality become eternally embedded in our lives and society.

PhDEE
PhDEE

Ah, yes.  I was wondering how long it was going to take to break out the "it was Bush's fault" rallying cry.  Poor W will just have to wait for a republican president before he stops being scapegoated for, well, EVERYTHING.  Hell, he might die before that happens!  Sure will be nice to hold our sitting presidents accountable for the things THEY do in office again, though.

PacificSage
PacificSage

Funny, where's the 10,000 comments on how we're all being crushed by some tyrant dictator?????

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

@RB1Just out of curiosity, what freedom was actually deprived from YOU.  I mean, specifically, what direct, first-hand knowledge of any unconstitutional intrusion into your life do you have proof happened, and proof that it caused you any harm?

You use rhetoric about "... these special rules that deprive us of our freedoms and equality become eternally embedded in our lives and society.", but other than rhetoric and a perception of vulnerability, I've not seen one person lay out demonstrable proof that they were ever, in fact, "deprived" of anything.

Not one person.

Near as I can tell, I have all the rights, liberties and freedoms I had when I was born.  If there's been any erosion in it, it's due more to economic manipulation than constitutional or political manipulation.  Not one single thing in the last 50 years has changed what we had back in 1950 - and we have a damn sight more openness and a damn sight LESS repression and intrusion TODAY than we EVER had under J. Edgar Hoover and McCarthy.

So other than a potentially shattered false illusion based on hearsay evidence, what is it, exactly, that twisted YOUR giblets?  And if you say that our rights are eroding daily, prove it with your direct experience of the rights, liberties or freedoms you used to have that you have less of or don't have today.

I'm betting you can't come up with one tangible, relevant thing thing.

donmarko
donmarko

@DeweySayenoff@RB1I am forced to buy health insurance. You as an American Citizen can now legally be interrogated without do process if you are a SUSPECTED of being a terrorist.

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