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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bmaz @Pachacutec_ Dude. Seriously? Would very much have liked that.
bmaz @Pachacutec_ Lasorda is an ass. But ya gotta love Da Bums!
bmaz @Pachacutec_ Gibby was the best!
emptywheel Going to bed, but so looking forward to writing abt this Ornstein opinion.
emptywheel Magistrate judges are sexy. No matter what you've been taught.
emptywheel RT @csoghoian: Pro-tip: When seeking an order forcing Apple to subvert its own security, cite as authority part of the Judiciary Act of 178…
emptywheel @jilliancyork EFF has been blocked in past. @united
emptywheel @BuffyBlogs Hopefully I and others can do justice but it's an exuberant flag.
emptywheel Don't think I can finish Ornstein analysis until tomorrow AM but I am smooching him, make no mistake.
emptywheel So basically this Apple story is abt judge shopping magistrates.
emptywheel @marciahofmann If you can say how did this become public (since as far as I can get docket is still sealed)?
emptywheel "Hospital Hero" Jim Comey slinks around asking for things Admin says it won't ask for. https://t.co/j3ErUb8pEZ
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