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
emptywheel @NC_Prime Yeah. Tho so much technically classified info is not all that sexy.
5mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @NC_Prime The vetting process, like the treatment of leaks, is famously fraught with inconsistencies.
7mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @NC_Prime Given how Panetta gamed vetting not clear that would make difference.
7mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @EricBoehlert Bai is gonna Bai.
8mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel We know Broadwell didn't publish info fr Petraeus' Black Books. But do we actually know she didn't pub CLASS info? https://t.co/z7nkt0U3YU
9mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel David Cole keeps selling CIA's propaganda. https://t.co/DU5dj8SxGE Why? Why not call on Obama to release REAL info abt responsibility?
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emptywheel @charlie_savage I'm sorry about your Bears. But think how happy you'll be when they spend all the money they've saved on Suh and/or Wilfork.
41mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @ShawnMusgrave Oh, I already drank for that one. @JasonLeopold
44mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @dametzger Because he knows where the bodies are buried.
46mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @7im That's probably what Al Gore was thinking in 1999.
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emptywheel Reup: On day Petraeus lied to FBI abt sharing class info w/Broadwell, she claimed Benghazi was abt CIA detainees. https://t.co/4pyO3bn38F
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emptywheel @jeffreycarr What I don't understand, given that casinos ALSO CI, is why we don't make bigger deal of Iran's hack of Sands.
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