Thursday, August 15, 2013

"Very interesting, but not very funny..."

Interesting little tidbit from The Washington Post ~

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. They range from significant violations of law to typographical errors that result in unintended interception of U.S. emails 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. 

Asked about this information, the chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court told The Washington Post that the court lacks the tools to independently verify how often government surveillance breaks the court's rules that aim to protect the privacy of Americans. Without drastic steps, it also cannot check the veracity of government claims that all the violations its staff reports are unintentional mistakes, the judge said. 

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