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  • paul rosa
    April 16, 2009 New York Times N.S.A.’s Intercepts Exceed Limits Set by Congress By ERIC LICHTBLAU
    Message 1 of 21 , Apr 15, 2009
    • 0 Attachment
      April 16, 2009 New York Times


      N.S.A.’s Intercepts Exceed Limits Set by Congress

      By ERIC LICHTBLAU
      <http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/l/eric_lichtblau/index.html?inline=nyt-per>
      and JAMES RISEN
      <http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/r/james_risen/index.html?inline=nyt-per>

      WASHINGTON — The National Security Agency
      <http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/n/national_security_agency/index.html?inline=nyt-org>
      intercepted private e-mail messages and phone calls of Americans in
      recent months on a scale that went beyond the broad legal limits
      established by Congress last year, according to government officials.

      Several intelligence officials, as well as lawyers briefed about the
      matter, said the N.S.A. had been engaged in “over-collection” of
      domestic communications of Americans. They described the practice as
      significant and systemic, although one official said it was believed to
      be unintentional.

      The N.S.A. legal and operational issues have come under scrutiny from
      the Obama administration, congressional intelligence committees, and a
      secret national security court, said the intelligence officials, who
      were speaking only on condition of anonymity because N.S.A. activities
      are classified. A series of classified government briefings have been
      held in recent weeks in response to a brewing controversy that some
      officials worry could damage the credibility of legitimate
      intelligence-gathering efforts.

      The Justice Department, in response to inquiries from The New York
      Times, acknowledged in a statement Wednesday night that there had been
      problems with the N.S.A. surveillance operation but that they had been
      resolved.

      As part of a periodic review of the agency’s activities, the department
      “detected issues that raised concerns,” the statement said. Justice
      officials then “took comprehensive steps to correct the situation and
      bring the program into compliance” with both the law and court orders,
      the statement said. It added that Attorney General Eric H. Holder
      <http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/h/eric_h_holder_jr/index.html?inline=nyt-per>
      went to the national security court to seek a renewal of the
      surveillance program only after new safeguards were put in place.

      N.S.A. officials did not comment. The Office of the Director of National
      Intelligence, which oversees the intelligence community, did not
      specifically address questions about the surveillance issue but said in
      a statement that “when inadvertent mistakes are made, we take it very
      seriously and work immediately to correct them.”

      The questions may not be settled yet. Intelligence officials say they
      are still examining the extent of the N.S.A. practices, and
      congressional investigators say they hope to determine if any violations
      of Americans’ privacy occurred. It is not clear to what extent the
      agency may have actively listened in on conversations or read e-mails of
      Americans without proper court authority, rather than simply obtain
      access to them.

      The intelligence officials said that the problems have grown out of
      changes enacted by Congress last July in the law that regulates the
      government’s wiretapping powers, and the challenges posed by enacting a
      new framework for collecting intelligence on suspected terrorists and
      spies.

      While N.S.A.’s operations in recent months have come under examination,
      new details are also emerging about earlier domestic surveillance
      activities, including the agency’s attempt to wiretap a congressman
      without court approval on an overseas trip, according to interviews with
      current and former intelligence officials.

      After a contentious three-year debate that was triggered by the 2005
      disclosure of the warrantless wiretapping program approved after the
      Sept. 11 attacks by President Bush, Congress gave the N.S.A. broad new
      authority to collect, without court-approved warrants, vast streams of
      international phone and email traffic as it passed through American
      telecommunications gateways. The targets of the eavesdropping had to be
      “reasonably believed” to be outside the United States. Under the new
      legislation, however, the N.S.A. still needed court approval to monitor
      the purely domestic communications of Americans who came under suspicion.

      In recent weeks, the eavesdropping agency notified members of the
      congressional intelligence committees that it has encountered
      operational and legal problems in complying with the new wiretapping
      law, according to congressional officials .

      Officials would not discuss details of the over-collection problem
      because it involves classified intelligence-gathering techniques. But
      the issue appears focused in part on technical problems in the N.S.A.’s
      inability at times to distinguish between communications inside the
      United States and those overseas as it uses its access to American
      telecommunications companies’ fiber-optic lines and its own spy
      satellites to intercept millions of calls and e-mails.

      One official said that led the agency to inadvertently “target” groups
      of Americans and collect their domestic communications without proper
      court authority. Officials are still trying to determine how many
      violations may have occurred.

      The over-collection problems appear to have been uncovered as part of a
      twice-annual certification that the Justice Department and the Director
      of National Intelligence are required to give to the Foreign
      Intelligence Surveillance Court on the protocols that the N.S.A. is
      using in its wiretapping operations. That review, officials said, began
      in the waning days of the Bush administration and was continued by the
      Obama administration. It led intelligence officials to realize that the
      N.S.A. was improperly capturing information involving significant
      amounts of American traffic.

      Notified of the problems by the N.S.A., officials with both the House
      and Senate intelligence committees said they had concerns that the
      N.S.A. had ignored civil liberties safeguards built into last year’s
      wiretapping law.

      “We have received notice of a serious issue involving the N.S.A., and
      we’ve begun inquires into it,” said a congressional staff member.

      Separate from the new inquries, the Justice Department has been
      conducting an investigation for more than two years into aspects of the
      N.S.A.’s warrantless wiretapping program.

      As part of that investigation, a senior F.B.I.
      <http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/f/federal_bureau_of_investigation/index.html?inline=nyt-org>
      agent recently came forward with what the inspector general’s office
      described as allegations of “significant misconduct” in the surveillance
      program, people with knowledge of the investigation said. Those
      allegations are said to involve the question of whether the N.S.A.
      targeted Americans in eavesdropping operations based on insufficient
      evidence tying them to terrorism.

      And in one previously undisclosed episode, the N.S.A. tried to wiretap a
      member of Congress without a warrant, according to a U.S. intelligence
      official with direct knowledge of the matter.

      The agency believed that the congressman, whose identity could not be
      determined, was in contact as part of a congressional delegation to the
      Middle East in 2005 or 2006 with an extremist who had possible terrorist
      ties and was already under surveillance, the official said. The agency
      then sought to eavesdrop on the congressman’s conversations to gather
      more intelligence, the official said.

      The official said the plan was ultimately blocked because of concerns
      from some officials in the intelligence community about the idea of
      using the N.S.A., without court oversight, to spy on a member of Congress.
    • james kester
      Thanks for posting! It s refreshing to know that they were doing their job! I feel violated. Their work, as identified by NYT, has exceeded my expectations.
      Message 2 of 21 , Apr 16, 2009
      • 0 Attachment
        Thanks for posting!

        It's refreshing to know that they were doing their job! I feel violated.
        Their work, as "identified" by NYT, has exceeded my expectations.

        Someone should have asked members of the Black Panthers why the "love letters" they
        sent got delivered a day late.

        Just speculating here....

        Der Heilige Stuhl






         




        --- On Wed, 4/15/09, paul rosa <paul.rosa@...> wrote:

        From: paul rosa <paul.rosa@...>
        Subject: [coldwarcomms] NSA
        To: coldwarcomms@yahoogroups.com
        Date: Wednesday, April 15, 2009, 8:37 PM


        April 16, 2009 New York Times


          N.S.A.’s Intercepts Exceed Limits Set by Congress

        By ERIC LICHTBLAU
        <http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/l/eric_lichtblau/index.html?inline=nyt-per>
        and JAMES RISEN
        <http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/r/james_risen/index.html?inline=nyt-per>

        WASHINGTON — The National Security Agency
        <http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/n/national_security_agency/index.html?inline=nyt-org>
        intercepted private e-mail messages and phone calls of Americans in
        recent months on a scale that went beyond the broad legal limits
        established by Congress last year, according to government officials.

        Several intelligence officials, as well as lawyers briefed about the
        matter, said the N.S.A. had been engaged in “over-collection” of
        domestic communications of Americans. They described the practice as
        significant and systemic, although one official said it was believed to
        be unintentional.

        The N.S.A. legal and operational issues have come under scrutiny from
        the Obama administration, congressional intelligence committees, and a
        secret national security court, said the intelligence officials, who
        were speaking only on condition of anonymity because N.S.A. activities
        are classified. A series of classified government briefings have been
        held in recent weeks in response to a brewing controversy that some
        officials worry could damage the credibility of legitimate
        intelligence-gathering efforts.

        The Justice Department, in response to inquiries from The New York
        Times, acknowledged in a statement Wednesday night that there had been
        problems with the N.S.A. surveillance operation but that they had been
        resolved.

        As part of a periodic review of the agency’s activities, the department
        “detected issues that raised concerns,” the statement said. Justice
        officials then “took comprehensive steps to correct the situation and
        bring the program into compliance” with both the law and court orders,
        the statement said. It added that Attorney General Eric H. Holder
        <http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/h/eric_h_holder_jr/index.html?inline=nyt-per>
        went to the national security court to seek a renewal of the
        surveillance program only after new safeguards were put in place.

        N.S.A. officials did not comment. The Office of the Director of National
        Intelligence, which oversees the intelligence community, did not
        specifically address questions about the surveillance issue but said in
        a statement that “when inadvertent mistakes are made, we take it very
        seriously and work immediately to correct them.”

        The questions may not be settled yet. Intelligence officials say they
        are still examining the extent of the N.S.A. practices, and
        congressional investigators say they hope to determine if any violations
        of Americans’ privacy occurred. It is not clear to what extent the
        agency may have actively listened in on conversations or read e-mails of
        Americans without proper court authority, rather than simply obtain
        access to them.

        The intelligence officials said that the problems have grown out of
        changes enacted by Congress last July in the law that regulates the
        government’s wiretapping powers, and the challenges posed by enacting a
        new framework for collecting intelligence on suspected terrorists and
        spies.

        While N.S.A.’s operations in recent months have come under examination,
        new details are also emerging about earlier domestic surveillance
        activities, including the agency’s attempt to wiretap a congressman
        without court approval on an overseas trip, according to interviews with
        current and former intelligence officials.

        After a contentious three-year debate that was triggered by the 2005
        disclosure of the warrantless wiretapping program approved after the
        Sept. 11 attacks by President Bush, Congress gave the N.S.A. broad new
        authority to collect, without court-approved warrants, vast streams of
        international phone and email traffic as it passed through American
        telecommunications gateways. The targets of the eavesdropping had to be
        “reasonably believed” to be outside the United States. Under the new
        legislation, however, the N.S.A. still needed court approval to monitor
        the purely domestic communications of Americans who came under suspicion.

        In recent weeks, the eavesdropping agency notified members of the
        congressional intelligence committees that it has encountered
        operational and legal problems in complying with the new wiretapping
        law, according to congressional officials .

        Officials would not discuss details of the over-collection problem
        because it involves classified intelligence-gathering techniques. But
        the issue appears focused in part on technical problems in the N.S.A.’s
        inability at times to distinguish between communications inside the
        United States and those overseas as it uses its access to American
        telecommunications companies’ fiber-optic lines and its own spy
        satellites to intercept millions of calls and e-mails.

        One official said that led the agency to inadvertently “target” groups
        of Americans and collect their domestic communications without proper
        court authority. Officials are still trying to determine how many
        violations may have occurred.

        The over-collection problems appear to have been uncovered as part of a
        twice-annual certification that the Justice Department and the Director
        of National Intelligence are required to give to the Foreign
        Intelligence Surveillance Court on the protocols that the N.S.A. is
        using in its wiretapping operations. That review, officials said, began
        in the waning days of the Bush administration and was continued by the
        Obama administration. It led intelligence officials to realize that the
        N.S.A. was improperly capturing information involving significant
        amounts of American traffic.

        Notified of the problems by the N.S.A., officials with both the House
        and Senate intelligence committees said they had concerns that the
        N.S.A. had ignored civil liberties safeguards built into last year’s
        wiretapping law.

        “We have received notice of a serious issue involving the N.S.A., and
        we’ve begun inquires into it,” said a congressional staff member.

        Separate from the new inquries, the Justice Department has been
        conducting an investigation for more than two years into aspects of the
        N.S.A.’s warrantless wiretapping program.

        As part of that investigation, a senior F.B.I.
        <http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/f/federal_bureau_of_investigation/index.html?inline=nyt-org>
        agent recently came forward with what the inspector general’s office
        described as allegations of “significant misconduct” in the surveillance
        program, people with knowledge of the investigation said. Those
        allegations are said to involve the question of whether the N.S.A.
        targeted Americans in eavesdropping operations based on insufficient
        evidence tying them to terrorism.

        And in one previously undisclosed episode, the N.S.A. tried to wiretap a
        member of Congress without a warrant, according to a U.S. intelligence
        official with direct knowledge of the matter.

        The agency believed that the congressman, whose identity could not be
        determined, was in contact as part of a congressional delegation to the
        Middle East in 2005 or 2006 with an extremist who had possible terrorist
        ties and was already under surveillance, the official said. The agency
        then sought to eavesdrop on the congressman’s conversations to gather
        more intelligence, the official said.

        The official said the plan was ultimately blocked because of concerns
        from some officials in the intelligence community about the idea of
        using the N.S.A., without court oversight, to spy on a member of Congress.





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