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?

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Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel @B_D_Silver And when Hillary DOES win nomination, having had Bill make this attack makes him a fair target.
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emptywheel @B_D_Silver Consensual sex? Absolutely not. Unclear why having ANY man be voice of complaints of sexism, & press rel w/Bill usu skeptical
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emptywheel "Bill Clinton says there is sexism in only one campaign and I will write that down like a good little journalist." https://t.co/Ns7cxFO7hE
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emptywheel Apparently some reporters don't see the irony in repeating claims Bill Clinton makes about sexism unquestioningly.
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emptywheel NSA’s Funny Description of the Job that Required a Controversial Reorganization https://t.co/gJeZJJnQrV Reorg to "enhance" cybersecurity
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emptywheel I don't defend the hack of DHS & FBI info. But how is posting name, title, email, & phone of govt employees "doxxing"? It's a phone book.
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emptywheel @onekade Um, @SenTomCotton assuredly doesn't want peace. His backers are heavily invested in war.
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emptywheel Here's what NSA claims its missions are, which is of course bullshit. https://t.co/nWLeWBrB0s https://t.co/qQi7PywZaM
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emptywheel Sounds like the same McKinsey folks who reorganized CIA got to NSA as well. https://t.co/nWLeWBrB0s https://t.co/uCHp0Bwjm6
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emptywheel Somehow info-sharing didn't manage to prevent the hack of FBI and DHS info. https://t.co/bD0A0WiIQh
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emptywheel @sethwulsin God, that most unforgiving of Emergency Managers.
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