Were DiFi’s Aides Who Claimed “Only a Small Number” of Back Door Searches Ignorant or Lying?

Yesterday, we learned:

  • NSA conducted unwarranted back door searches on 198 US persons’ content last year and 9,500 back door searches on US person metadata
  • CIA conducted around 1,900 unwarranted back door searches on US person content, and an uncounted number of back door searches on US person metadata
  • FBI conducted a substantial number of unwarranted back door searches on US person content and metadata — so much so it doesn’t count it

Back in November, when Dianne Feinstein was trying to codify these unwarranted back door searches explicitly into law, here’s what anonymous sources described as Senate Intelligence Committee aides told the WaPo:

They say that there have been only a “small number” of such queries each year. Such searches are useful, for instance, if a tip arises that a terrorist group is plotting to kill or kidnap an American, officials have said.

“Only a small number.”

Over 2,000 counted searches between the CIA and NSA. Uncounted, but substantial, number of searches by FBI. “Only a small number.”

Were these anonymous sources ignorant — relying on false information from the Agencies? The actual number of unwarranted back door searches doesn’t appear in the unredacted portions of the one Semiannual Section 702 Compliance report we’ve seen (see page 13); there doesn’t appear to be a redacted section where they would end up.

So have the Agencies (CIA and NSA in this case; FBI’s back door searches get audited in a different way) simply hidden from their Congressional overseers how frequently they were doing these searches?

Or were these aides trying, once again, to pass legislation permitting the nation’s spy agencies to conduct intrusive searches on Americans by lying?

One way or another, it’s a damn good thing Ron Wyden asked for and insisted on getting an answer to his question of how common these back door searches are (even if the FBI still refuses to count them). Because the key people who are supposed to oversee them are either ignorant or lying about them.

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JimWhiteGNV RT @zerohedge: As a reminder, from 2013: Mystery Sponsor Of Weapons And Money To Syrian Mercenary "Rebels" Revealed http://t.co/qVGkg8cWqZ
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emptywheel @gregorydjohnsen Oh I'm sure we can trust the Saudis to have our best interests in mind.
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JimWhiteGNV RT @Disarm: Where's the #nuclear-free world candidate Obama promised? We're now building a new generation of nuclear weapons? http://t.co/W
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JimWhiteGNV RT @onekade: Just read a @nytimes piece saying the Secret Service has been widely criticized for not shooting dead the guy at the WH. What …
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JimWhiteGNV @gregorydjohnsen And civilians already starving. Perfect recipe for radicalization when innocent family members killed by bombs.
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JimWhiteGNV RT @gregorydjohnsen: What sort of intel is the US using for all its strikes in Syria - we can't have great on the ground sources.
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JimWhiteGNV RT @FearDept: We had zero international legal justification for hitting #Syria, but we did it anyway. http://t.co/C6EAzidczM #fuckyeah
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JimWhiteGNV RT @allthingsct: @azelin @intelwire @DaveedGR easy. Hard to go saying AQ EO if you've claimed you've strategically defeated them....
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JimWhiteGNV RT @davidcnswanson: ISIS, Weapons Makers, Thugs Benefit from This Crime | War Is A Crime .org http://t.co/CHhsnbPm6E
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JimWhiteGNV RT @gregorydjohnsen: Is this imminent as in "about to happen" or imminent as in "they were thinking about plots and were generally up to no…
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JimWhiteGNV RT @fineout: Looks like #FSU has brought in extra police for today's trustee meetings where a new president will be picked
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JimWhiteGNV In case you haven't noticed, I fucking despise war. Symbol of ultimate failure for civilized society.
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