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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JimWhiteGNV RT @DCreDC: "@DemocracyNow: Have you been called by anyone in Congress to testify...? POSTOL: Of course not. Congress is not interested in …
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JimWhiteGNV RT @MarcACaputo: A new identity for David Rivera: 'Co-conspirator A.' http://t.co/CyI8Rl104o
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JimWhiteGNV I'm shocked, shocked that the torture report has significant redactions. #MostTranparentAdministrationMyAss
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emptywheel @1971Film Had a ticket but didn't make it--so bummed!
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emptywheel @Krhawkins5 So maybe they'll ruin your October vacation. You got one of those scheduled?
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emptywheel @Krhawkins5 Normally I'd say you'd be absolutely right. But CIA is going to stall on explaining its overredaction longer, don't you think?
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JimWhiteGNV RT @DCreDC: MIT expert: Hamas warheads are only 10-20 pounds, and #IronDome likely intercepts at most 5% of them http://t.co/jr44BTnRqe #Ga
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emptywheel And @Krhawkins5 wins the predicted-the-utterly-predictable about CIA's overcensorship sweepstakes! Your prize is... dysfunctional democracy!
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emptywheel RT @shaneharris: Feinstein: SSCI got interrogation report from WH. Has "significant redactions." Need to review. Report "will be held until…
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JimWhiteGNV RT @ggreenwald: A reminder that John Brennan himself was at Bush CIA & supported some forms of torture and renditions http://t.co/mOJ7VSSCBc
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JimWhiteGNV RT @assholeofday: Yochanan Gordon, writer of "When Genocide is Permissible", is the #AssholeOfTheDay: http://t.co/TXaKynUBcx http://t.co/H2
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emptywheel RT @OrinKerr: DOJ petitions for rehearing in U.S. v. Davis, the 11th Circuit cell-site case: http://t.co/O3hwU3yvWt
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