The NSA intentionally and routinely intercepted communications of American citizens in violation of the Constitution.Read more here.
During the Obama years, the National Security Agency intentionally and routinely intercepted and reviewed communications of American citizens in violation of the Constitution and of court-ordered guidelines implemented pursuant to federal law.
The unlawful surveillance appears to have been a massive abuse of the government’s foreign-intelligence-collection authority, carried out for the purpose of monitoring the communications of Americans in the United States. While aware that it was going on for an extensive period of time, the administration failed to disclose its unlawful surveillance of Americans until late October 2016, when the administration was winding down and the NSA needed to meet a court deadline in order to renew various surveillance authorities under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
Even if the NSA does exactly what it is supposed to do (i.e., sift and discard), this means American communications are being seized and subjected to an inspection — however cursory — in the absence of any warrant, probable cause, or foreign-intelligence relevance.
...the NSA was not supposed to use an American’s phone number, e-mail address, or other “identifier” in running searches through its upstream database. It is this prohibition that the NSA routinely and extensively violated. Evidently, there was widespread use of American identifiers throughout the years after the 2011 revision of the minimization procedures. The violation was so broad that, at the time the Obama administration ended, its scope had still not been determined.
The rules from 2011 forward were simple: Do not use American identifiers. Yet NSA used them — not once or twice because some new technician didn’t know better. This violation of law was routine and extensive, known and concealed.
...Other reporting indicates that there was a significant uptick in unmasking incidents in the latter years of the Obama administration. More officials were given unmasking authority. At the same time, President Obama loosened restrictions to allow wider access to raw intelligence collection and wider dissemination of intelligence reports.
This geometrically increased the likelihood that classified information would be leaked — as did the Obama administration’s encouragement to Congress to demand disclosure of intelligence related to the Trump campaign (the purported Trump–Russia connection). And of course, there has been a stunning amount of leaking of classified information to the media.
Enabling of domestic spying, contemptuous disregard of court-ordered minimization procedures (procedures the Obama administration itself proposed, then violated), and unlawful disclosure of classified intelligence to feed a media campaign against political adversaries. Quite the Obama legacy.
Sunday, May 28, 2017
"Quite the Obama legacy."
At National Review, Andrew McCarthy reports,