If George Bush Can Close NSA’s Back Door Loophole, Why Can’t Barack Obama?

As per usual, there was a tidbit of news in Ron Wyden’s questions at yesterday’s hearing on the USA Freedumber.

He revealed that the back door loophole was closed during the Bush Administration.

Let me start by talking about the fact that the House bill does not ban warrantless searches for Americans’ emails. And here, particularly, I want to get into this with you, Mr. Ledgett if I might. We’re talking of course about the backdoor search loophole, section 702 of the FISA statute. This allows NSA in effect to look through this giant pile of communications that are collected under 702 and deliberately conduct warrantless searches for the communications of individual Americans.  This loophole was closed during the Bush Administration, but it was reopened in 2011, and a few months ago the Director of National Intelligence acknowledged in a letter to me that the searches are ongoing today. [my emphasis]

I’m not sure precisely what he’s talking about, though I assume either the transition from the illegal program to Protect America Act, or the transition from PAA to FISA Amendments Act, removed NSA’s ability to conduct back door searches. Reading between the redactions in John Bates’ October 3, 2011 opinion, FBI apparently has had the authority to do back door searches on both traditional FISA and warrantless collection from 2008, so from the beginning of FAA.

But from what Wyden said, the NSA had the ability to do back door searches, lost it, and now has it again.

I’d sure like to know more about what happened to lead people to believe NSA should have that authority taken away from it.

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5 Responses to If George Bush Can Close NSA’s Back Door Loophole, Why Can’t Barack Obama?

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Emptywheel Twitterverse
JimWhiteGNV .@SangerNYT Shouldn't you have noted Heinonen's UANI role in today's front page article? https://t.co/utCwfI5AyE
45mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @ncardozo Yeah, I don't ACTUALLY find it funny at all but sometimes I like to tweak coastal elites. Plus, MI is angling to take Ag role.
52mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel You folks getting snow would have a lot more fun w/it if you lorded it over the Californians who can't have nice things like precipitation.
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emptywheel RT @JimWhiteGNV: Heinonen Moves Deceptive Anti-Iran Campaign from Washington Post Opinion Page to New York Times News Page https://t.co/ut
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JimWhiteGNV Why does Olli Heinonen never disclose his UANI role when spouting his strongest anti-Iran propaganda? https://t.co/utCwfI5AyE @ggreenwald
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JimWhiteGNV Heinonen Moves Deceptive Anti-Iran Campaign from Washington Post Opinion Page to New York Times News Page https://t.co/utCwfI5AyE
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emptywheel What's remarkable abt this corn-seed-as-nat-sec case is not that FISA agreed they were FoPo, but that FBI went to trouble of getting one.
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JimWhiteGNV RT @tparsi: Noah Feldman: It's difficult to escape conclusion that UANI is a front for US or other intel http://t.co/i2T68vTjyq @NoahRFeldm
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emptywheel @trevortimm Yeah, think that was an add after I wrote the piece. Serves exact same purpose tho @ncardozo @kurtopsahl @legind
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JimWhiteGNV RT @APDiploWriter: BAGHDAD (AP) — #Iran Guard says US drone killed 2 of its advisers in #Iraq; #US says it only struck militants.
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bmaz RT @Popehat: .@kcjohnson9 on reforms to campus sexual assault rules. Getting colleges out entirely would be a good idea-via @bmaz http://t…
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