If Everything NSA Does is “Auditable,” Why Can’t NSA Tell Us How Many Americans They’ve Spied On?

NSA Director Keith Alexander just said this to the hackers at DefCon (while wearing an absolutely ridiculous hacker costume):

“We get oversight by Congress, both intel committees and their congressional members and their staffs,” he continued, “so everything we do is auditable by them, by the FISA court … and by the administration. And everything we do is accountable to them…. We are overseen by everybody. And I will tell you that those who would want to weave the story that we have millions or hundreds of millions of dossiers on people is absolutely false.”

But a month ago, Alexander’s Inspector General told Ron Wyden that an estimate of the number of people inside the United States who have had their communications collected or reviewed under the FISA Amendments Act “was beyond the capacity of his office.” Of note, the IG and NSA leadership–that is, presumably Alexander himself–claimed such a review would “violate the privacy of U.S. persons.”

I look forward to Ron Wyden’s response to Alexander’s seeming reversal on that earlier letter with claims of this unlimited auditability.

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emptywheel RT @MicahZenko: State Dept on Yemeni civilians killed by US-backed Saudi airstrikes: "That’s really for the Saudi Govt to speak to." http:/…
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emptywheel @ZaidJilani He's been in the same field for over a decade. @gzornick
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emptywheel RT @ZackPohl: Nike to pay college lots of money so players will wear their clothes while playing for free.
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emptywheel @gzornick And his old job was...?
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emptywheel @Johngcole No one has really even started, being busy with Cosby reporting. So the world is your sub.
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emptywheel @we_are_toast Not just abt non-voters: also abt gerry-mandering and ALEC $$. @ThePlumLineGS @GottaLaff
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emptywheel RT @empiricalerror: Cyber Wars Episode I: The Phantom Memo https://t.co/JHrmNIssnU Signed July 2nd, finally surfaces July 7th. #OPM #eQIP
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emptywheel Feels like lesson should instead be swing states outside of South adopting southern strategies to deny voter access. https://t.co/3w0VXPvYUr
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emptywheel @ShawnMusgrave But the CIA is happy to launder info to them anyway. (Still owe you that ref, huh?)
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emptywheel @dametzger Not necessarily if Obama pulls off deal. @marcambinder
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emptywheel @dametzger Saudis making damn sure we'll still rely on them to "fight" terror tho, which doesn't help ideological struggle. @marcambinder
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emptywheel @marcambinder US is not ENTITLED to have masses around world love effects of Washington consensus; there are real reasons they should not
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