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 Twitterverse
emptywheel @empiricalerror Yup. Also knows what nifty tools corporations are for crooks. @thegrugq @mattblaze
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emptywheel @atchley_sr First Gentleman.
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emptywheel @thegrugq He's gotta avoid admitting he was embarrassingly wrong at first. Very important. @mattblaze
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emptywheel If Clinton is lecturing POTUS on what he's doing it wrong, is he doing it as ex-POTUS or spouse of future candidate? https://t.co/Vbm9dp13o1
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bmaz Frankly, some of the better work ever done by FiveThirtyEightNate and his crew of stat kids http://t.co/luujZXGA4V
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emptywheel @billmon1 But but but! Inclusive government.
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bmaz Citizens shot by dozens in Chicago weekly, dozens kids killed in Newtown; but this country bed wetting over ISIS+Khorasan? #PatheticAmerica
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JimWhiteGNV Gosh, it sure isn't taking long for more of that camel to get into the tent.
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emptywheel @onekade Actually wonder if people who've been close to Karzai figure they need to get out while they can.
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emptywheel Why don't we call "inversion" defection, anyway?
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JimWhiteGNV RT @davewills34: Halloween came early to Boston... lots of the announced 35,566 people dressed as red seats for the game.
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emptywheel @TimothyS No, not really. They just don't realize that'll be the effect.
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