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 RT @runtodaylight: Cannabis credit union in Denver sues Federal Reserve over rejection https://t.co/mZ2K4BnNGm via @YahooPolitics
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emptywheel RT @robertcaruso: DoD Instruction 5410.16, DoD Assistance to Non-Government, Entertainment-Oriented Media Productions, July 31, 2015 -- htt…
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emptywheel Department of Energy: CyberSprinting Backwards https://t.co/Pats4FAOv4
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emptywheel @charlie_savage Do you have a sense which of those are new fr FISCR declass? The 2nd KK opinion is, and the transcript.
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JimWhiteGNV Sulu holds my newspaper for me and Riker is not amused. http://t.co/oisbdBeb89
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JimWhiteGNV Oh noes! it looks like @banditelli has lost @bandatellispants again. https://t.co/ZXEXGeRbhZ
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JimWhiteGNV @emptywheel Shhh! Don't tell the chainsaws! They get jealous.
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emptywheel @JimWhiteGNV Because it makes the chainsaws run so well?
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JimWhiteGNV Guys, it's Saturday. A good day to get that lube job for your lawn mower. And maybe a gallon of that nice marine fuel without ethanol.
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emptywheel @tweetsintheME Then I noted in complaints @benjaminwittes conflating "Obama admin" w/"NatSec establishment." I'm paying attention! @AZoeB85
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emptywheel @tweetsintheME I'm a critic. I pointed out he missed some things. @benjaminwittes didn't acknowledge that part. @AZoeB85
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emptywheel @mla1396 You mean the GitHub proof of concept or the pawn everything in govt hands?
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