Contractors Already Have Access to the Phone Dragnet

In today’s HJC hearing on the NSA, there was extensive discussion about the risks of outsourcing the dragnet to the telecoms or — especially, to a third party holding all the data. It’s a concern I share.

That said, not a single person at the hearing seemed to be aware of this footnote, which has been in the phone dragnet primary orders since at least last April.

5 For purposes of this Order, “National Security Agency” and “NSA personnel” are defined as 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 FISA if such operations are executed under the direction, authority, or control of the Director, NSA/Chief, CSS (DIRNSA).

If this language left any doubt that it permits contractors to directly query the database of every single phone-based relationship in the US, this language from Dianne Feinstein’s Fake FISA Fix bill report (which aims to codify the status quo) should eliminate them.

The Committee believes that, to the greatest extent practicable, all queries conducted to the authorities established under this section should be performed by Federal employees. Nonetheless, the Committee acknowledges that it may be necessary in some cases to use contractors to perform such queries. By using the term “government personnel” the Committee does not intend to prohibit such contractor use.

Contractors already have access to the dragnet.

If it presents a security threat to have contractors from Booz Allen Hamilton or some other intelligence contractor to have direct access to the dragnet, then we need to shut the dragnet down.

Because they’ve already got it.

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5 Responses to Contractors Already Have Access to the Phone Dragnet

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Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz RT @StephanieKelton: We may have forgotten how to build #infrastructure but we sure know how to dig a hole. http://t.co/9sj2j3GIwT
14mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @BradMossEsq Hahah. Next time you lose an argument so badly, you might warn @MarkSZaidEsq not to pile on against you.
17mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @BradMossEsq And you did so with EVERYONE, save (remarkably) @MarkSZaidEsq who said that docs released bc of Snowden.
18mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @BradMossEsq You are the ONLY one who used term "justify." You invented that claim! @MarkSZaidEsq
18mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @BradMossEsq Because @MarkSZaidEsq helped me demonstrate how stupid your claims and subsequent claims are?
19mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @NPRinskeep: After fleeing Honduras for the US, some minors claim they were mistreated in custody. @MorningEdition http://t.co/zvns3MFSau
19mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @BradMossEsq Mind you, it'd be absurd to claim @MarkSZaidEsq is engaging in graymail. See how dumb that claim is in reality?
20mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @BradMossEsq Are you going to ask @MarkSZaidEsq whether he's engaging in graymail now like you asked everyone else?
21mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @BradMossEsq Actually, it is. Which is why it was so insane. @MarkSZaidEsq
22mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel RT @MarkSZaidEsq: Certainly there were declassification decisions reached Bc Snowden leaked docs. That was part of consideration.
22mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @MarkSZaidEsq Please let @BradMossEsq know that then, bc that's what he was denying.
23mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @MarkSZaidEsq Again, my very narrow point is everything he wrote--all superb--I had written off declass court & training docs @BradMossEsq
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