More Contractor Problems — And FISC Disclosure Problems?

In the updated minimization procedures approved in 2011, the NSA added language making clear that the procedures applied to everyone doing analysis for NSA.

For the purposes of these procedures, the terms “National Security Agency” and “NSA personnel” refer to any employees of the National Security Agency/Central Security Service (“NSA/CSS” or “NSA”) and any other personnel engaged in Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) operations authorized pursuant to section 702 of the Act if such operations are executed under the direction, authority, or control of the Director, NSA/Chief, CSS (DIRNSA).

It told the FISA Court it needed this language to make it clear that militarily-deployed NSA personnel also had to abide by them.

The government has added language to Section 1 to make explicit that the procedures apply not only to NSA employees, but also to any other persons engaged in Section 702-related activities that are conducted under the direction, authority or control of the Director of the NSA. NSA Minimization Procedures at 1. According to the government, this new language is intended to clarify that Central Security Service personnel conducting signals intelligence operations authorized by Section 702 are bound by the procedures, even when they are deployed with a military unit and subject to the military chain of command.

But to me both these passages rang alarms about contractors. Did they have to include this language, I wondered, because contractors in the past had claimed not to be bound by the same rules NSA’s direct employees were?

Lo and behold the Bloomberg piece reporting that NSA’s IG undercounts deliberate violations by roughly 299 a year includes this:

The actions, said a second U.S. official briefed on them, were the work of overzealous NSA employees or contractors eager to prevent any encore to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

It sure seems that at least some of the worst violations — the ones even NSA’s IG will call intentional — were committed by contractors. Which suggests I may be right about the inclusion of that language to make it clear it applies to contractors.

If that’s the case, then why did NSA tell the FISA Court this new language was about militarily-deployed NSA employees, and not about contractors?

 

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One Response to More Contractor Problems — And FISC Disclosure Problems?

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Emptywheel Twitterverse
JimWhiteGNV RT @CharlieCrist: Rick Scott's cuts to Bright Futures scholarships had drastic consequences: http://t.co/5bYSP9YDdj http://t.co/as9lFcVrSe
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bmaz @OBEYshiba @jilliancyork Snowlady! But, yeah, bout right.
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JimWhiteGNV More like Disunited Kingdom, amiright?
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emptywheel How come our NatSec types invoke the Jesuits so often?
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emptywheel @Atrios Me neither. I assume it's because I say "fuck" too often which would be really embarrassing if journos knew.
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emptywheel "That's not too expensive" Ryan Crocker tells Congresswoman raising needs of her poor AL constituents.
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bmaz DOJ's Marshall Miller was born last night. After he fell off the turnip truck. http://t.co/ku8H2WSiTz Hey @TheJusticeDept yer idiots.
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emptywheel @Atrios Clapper's gonna have to retire to a sinecure soon and he's gotta find a way to demand same fees Keith Alexander is. @froomkin
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JimWhiteGNV RT @djmincey11: A Must See For Animal Lovers: https://t.co/iEXppBsmsS #LMAO #LadyFarmer
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emptywheel Anyone find it curious that there are 3 briefings selling the IS war the day after the House already funded that war? #DemocracyInAction
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bmaz Literally the dumbest plan thing ever-----> "Justice Department Urges Banks to Implicate Employees" http://t.co/otthE9Tcjs
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bmaz @OBEYshiba @jilliancyork Probably say "hey fluffball, get back to your ice floe".
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