Baseball91's Weblog

August 11, 2011

Domestic Surveillance Under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act

NSA logo There are at least sixteen agencies in Washington which have since September 2001 been involved in domestic and international intelligence. In one of these agencies, concerning how the Obama Administration is interpreting parts of the Patriot Act, the Director of Legislative Affairs for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence says that it is “difficult to answer” whether the government has the right to track Americans’ location through cellphones for intelligence purposes, according to a letter sent to Congress on August 11th.

In response to questions presented by Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), who asked in a letter to the the Office of the Director of National Intelligence whether the intelligence community has the authority to collect geolocation information on American citizens, Kathleen Turner, the director of legislative affairs for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, responded that the government is still defining its “view of the full contours of this authority and will get back to you.”

As the senators asked just where such authority might come from, the response from the director of legislative affairs for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence was that though the amount of evidence that can be collected and the procedures required to get it haven’t been settled yet, “the government has some authority to collect cell phone mobility data under appropriate circumstances.” So how many people in the U.S. have had their communications reviewed under authority granted by 2008 legislation, amending the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act? The response of the director of legislative affairs for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence was, “It is not reasonably possible to identify the number of people located in the United States whose communications may have been reviewed.”

As the Obama Administration has been in practice over 1466 days.addressing these issues, this response was disingenuous. How can this “Hope and Change” government still be defining its “view of the full contours of this authority.” If it is not reasonably possible to identify the number of people located in the United States whose communications may have been reviewed, how was it possible for law enforcement to identify the people whose communications they selected to review? It might be difficult to justify whether the government has the right to track Americans’ location through cellphones for intelligence purposes, it might be difficult to rationalize actual domestic surveillance under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, but it should not be difficult to answer the question after 1466 days executing the law. This was one sign an arrogance had developed after 1466 days, not much different than the arrogance of the previous administration.

Didn’t the legislative branch know the day-to-day effort of protecting the liberty of the American public on these shores? Or didn’t the executive branch see the irony of a nation, which now fought foreign wars to export democracy and freedom at a cost of $193 million dollars per day, spying at home on its own citizens? Or didn’t the electorate see the real reason for the ongoing cost of cheap money, to finance the wars without a tax increase? As the value of the currency was diminished forty percent over the last ten years.

Concerning all of the cost of war, when Senator Ron Wyden from Oregon had also the same above questions to an attorney from the National Security Agency earlier this week, he received a similar answer. However the attorney from the NSA indicated that his intelligence community would be working on a better response before the first meeting of the Senate Intelligence Committee in September. The NSA attorney seemed wise enough to recognize the full contours of contempt of Congress, where arrogance of one branch of government was a still a crime.


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1 Comment »

  1. For states – dare I say Congress – to legislate on the basis of this event of September 11th, ’tis worth noting under the judicial branch that extreme cases make extreme laws.

    November 12, 2013….For the first time, American voters, per a a newly newly released poll by Quinnipiac University, say 52 – 44 percent that Obama is not honest and trustworthy. His previous lowest marks on honesty were May 30, when 49 percent of voters said he was honest and 47 percent said he was not. And that might be a statement on all of the spying as much as any storm over Obama Care which addresses mostly only health care insurance, not health care or its access. Yet!

    Comment by baseball91 — November 13, 2013 @ 10:05 PM | Reply


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