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
emptywheel Here are the Rules for Living Paula Broadwell published between time Petraeus lied to FBI and had to resign. http://t.co/wOStbClZZD
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bmaz @digby56 @armandodkos Heh, the "Viagra garage band". Good one.
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bmaz @gideonstrumpet Yeah. And the juror sticking by her guns and not budging is not really "refusal to deliberate" either.
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JimWhiteGNV RT @KendallRogersD1: Unreal video. Thanks to Jodi at @RhodyBaseball for sending. Check out #uri trying to clear snow/ice off its field. htt…
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bmaz @Taniel Gohmert
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bmaz RT @MeirJa: Ex-Mossad chief calls Netanyahu's #Iran speech 'bullshit' | The Times of Israel http://t.co/YRbMNW3Fmc #israel
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bmaz @JoshMBlackman Let us hope not.
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emptywheel @ColMorrisDavis Well, Alberto Gonzales went thru some hard times bc he got caught w/a CYA file including covering torture. He has recovered.
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bmaz @fedcourts @peoplefor Shocker!!
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emptywheel @ColMorrisDavis Sort of makes clear Cole ALSO commented on OPR report w/o reading it closely. Seems to be a pattern.
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emptywheel @ColMorrisDavis Also no mention of DOJ docs that claim to refute what he's looking at. @DavidColeGtown
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