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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bmaz @dcbigjohn Have you been butt hurt? Perhaps even "sliced"? I want to create a "safe space" for your feelings on this!
emptywheel How do newspapers know the best books of any given year 3 days before 2nd to last month ends?
bmaz @TyreJim @LegallyErin And, yet, I have still not heard from her on the Bears/Packers fiasco.
bmaz @GottaLaff "Terrorism", whether "domestic" or "foreign", is where both the founding Constitution and Bill of Rights goes to die.
bmaz @JasonLeopold @breaking Jesus fucking christ, even you are using the idiotic term "active shooter"???? Stop!
emptywheel @FreedomofPress Um, you mean @NYTimes reports on something many outlets have reported on years earlier. No investigation there.
bmaz @GottaLaff Honestly, no, its not. Crime, murder, aggravated assault, kidnapping etc? Sure. Society will rule day too much called "terrorism"
bmaz @bsdtectr Meh, on the whole Fuented is just lame and shallow more than problematic
bmaz Because @CNN sure wouldn't be using thugs like this if they wanted sober, honest and expert reportage and commentary
bmaz One can only assume that @CNN uses reactionary police biased jackboot thugs like Jonathan Gilliam+Harry Houck to drive up ratings.
bmaz @bmaz Fuentes is often a little shallow, but not a biased jackboot jerk. Which can't be said for CNN "experts" Jonathan Gilliam+Harry Houck.
emptywheel RT @CliveSSmith: Mothers of Saudi kids set to be crucified for protesting ask to be executed with their sons, @Repr
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