All Three Branches Conduct Vaunted NSA Oversight!

Today, we learned this is what the vaunted Congressional oversight of NSA spying looks like.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who did not receive a copy of the 2012 audit [showing thousands of violations] until The Post asked her staff about it, said in a statement late Thursday that the committee “can and should do more to independently verify that NSA’s operations are appropriate, and its reports of compliance incidents are accurate.”

We learned this is what the vaunted FISA Court oversight of NSA spying looks like.

The chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court said the court lacks the tools to independently verify how often the government’s surveillance breaks the court’s rules that aim to protect Americans’ privacy. Without taking drastic steps, it also cannot check the veracity of the government’s assertions that the violations its staff members report are unintentional mistakes.

“The FISC is forced to rely upon the accuracy of the information that is provided to the Court,” its chief, U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton, said in a written statement to The Washington Post. “The FISC does not have the capacity to investigate issues of noncompliance, and in that respect the FISC is in the same position as any other court when it comes to enforcing [government] compliance with its orders.”

We learned this is what the vaunted internal NSA oversight of NSA spying looks like.

The NSA uses the term “incidental” when it sweeps up the records of an American while targeting a foreigner or a U.S. person who is believed to be involved in terrorism. Official guidelines for NSA personnel say that kind of incident, pervasive under current practices, “does not constitute a . . . violation” and “does not have to be reported” to the NSA inspector general for inclusion in quarterly reports to Congress. Once added to its databases, absent other restrictions, the communications of Americans may be searched freely.

In one required tutorial, NSA collectors and analysts are taught to fill out oversight forms without giving “extraneous information” to “our FAA overseers.” FAA is a reference to the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which granted broad new authorities to the NSA in exchange for regular audits from the Justice Department and the office of the Director of National Intelligence and periodic reports to Congress and the surveillance court.

Using real-world examples, the “Target Analyst Rationale Instructions” explain how NSA employees should strip out details and substitute generic descriptions of the evidence and analysis behind their targeting choices.

Vaunted. For well over 2 months. This is what they’ve been hailing.

Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Reddit0Share on Facebook0Google+1Email to someone

17 Responses to All Three Branches Conduct Vaunted NSA Oversight!

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz Doge got her Christmas detailing today. Tired, but feeling pretty, oh so pretty http://t.co/oBFhvAlZNU
14mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz Son of a bitch; love La Tolteca-----> "Fire badly damages La Tolteca Mexican Foods in Phoenix" http://t.co/Z2TY68I55E via @azcentral
33mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @JennyMehlow @randiego2 Pretty sure that was a typo and he meant to say "Huddled in a bedroom with my wife who looks amazing tonight!"
46mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @randiego2 Love you guys, hope your holidays are going great. Tonight probably helps a little! @JennyMehlow
49mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz When the Bolts are Jolting, where is @randiego2 ??
53mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz BOLTS!! Be Bolting in the Big Bluejean.
1hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @onekade No, not every aggravated assault via gunshot is attempted murder, though prosecutors would prob charge that way.
1hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @onekade She is very alive.
1hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @onekade And, yeah, I am absolutely saying that all the panopticon BS you so fear does not translate at all like you are claiming
1hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @onekade Again you are falsely calling him a murder suspect. That is simply not correct in the least.
1hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @dpleasant: NYPD does de Blasio's security detai? And he's going to trust them to continue after all they've said & done tonight, especi…
1hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @johnsonr Wait....shouldn't you be done by now?? It is holiday season!
1hreplyretweetfavorite