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 @downwithtyranny @_ShannonINC Although, as true as that is, the sparseness of the original is also pretty endearing in a different way.
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emptywheel @zappin_liberals Not at all. Just pointing out that you're a hypocrite. I've covered both scandals. Care to talk about Sheldon Adelson?
24mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel For those in Chicago: Come hear me and Bill Binney speak next Tuesday. https://t.co/zsMjz1oPSP
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bmaz @_ShannonINC Some of BOC's later albums were actually WAY better than popularly given credit for cc: @downwithtyranny #EarlyAlbumsIncredible
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emptywheel @joanneleon Right. For all the OTHER corruption he was involved in, rather surprised by his sloppiness here.
55mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @zappin_liberals Yeah. They were going back in and modifying, too! Hell we could go back to Poppy's missing emails! Want to talk those?
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emptywheel @zappin_liberals Wasn't sure if you meant Bush's missing emails, Yoo's, or Hillary's. It's so hard to tell, of course.
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emptywheel @bellwak That would prolly still be Hastert. And $90K is pretty good for median income. @dick_nixon
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emptywheel @bellwak I said "from his or her." If I had to bet I'd use "his," but we don't know that yet.
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emptywheel "I've just done something bad in my small home town! I think I'll move to DC and run the House page program."
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emptywheel Poof! How quickly they forget. https://t.co/U9ZrggbKDo
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