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

Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel @nickturse Think they require active clearance. You think they've pulled @Snowden's yet?
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JimWhiteGNV RT @BurritoBrosShit: On that minivan life too, so this person has spawned. https://t.co/9VInUItFVD
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bmaz Important+troubling @nigelduara report on treatment of juveniles in Cochise Cnty, inc coerced felony pleas w/o atty https://t.co/U9uBtev2Kk
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bmaz Outrage is really the conflict of interest more than the outsourcing. Great story by @AliWatkins + @AramRoston https://t.co/gkqSLaIyMs
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emptywheel @thegrugq We can start by firing all mid-level people who know WTF they're doing, leading them to scramble for livelihoods elsewhere.
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bmaz Hilarious. Curt Schilling is too much of an ass even for FOX. https://t.co/pIQJuzCqI8
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bmaz @sbagen @imillhiser @MikeSacksEsq @jessewegman Think criminal issues will be one, especially if Garland makes it through.
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emptywheel @nickrmanes Tho I agree I caught the whiff of stale malt when I got off.
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emptywheel Somehow flight attendant had me pegged as *not going to beer industry conference.* Gonna have to up my game. https://t.co/XgxYjAkNTi
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bmaz @maryaliceparks @7im @BernieSanders It started last summer with huge crowds and few press, maybe ends that way this summer.
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bmaz RT @etuckerAP: DOJ and its IG have resolved dispute through language in appropriations act. DOJ says IG will get faster access to categorie…
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bmaz RT @brahmresnik: UPDATE #KidsCare on life support at #AZLEG as budget votes near. https://t.co/MrKrOlr8Gg #12News https://t.co/vVP3izWrVN
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