Obama gives CIA, FBI, DEA and 13 other agencies warrantless full raw DATA NSA surveillance access on Americans citizens.
In its final days, the Obama administration has expanded the power of the National Security Agency to share globally intercepted personal communications with the government’s 16 other intelligence agencies before applying privacy protections.
The change means that far more officials will be searching through raw data.
Previously, the N.S.A. filtered information before sharing intercepted communications with another agency, like the C.I.A. or the intelligence branches of the F.B.I. and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The N.S.A.’s analysts passed on only information they deemed pertinent, screening out the identities of innocent people and irrelevant personal information.
Now, other intelligence agencies will be able to search directly through raw repositories of communications intercepted by the N.S.A. and then apply such rules for “minimizing” privacy intrusions.
“Rather than dramatically expanding government access to so much personal data, we need much stronger rules to protect the privacy of Americans,” Mr. Toomey said. “Seventeen different government agencies shouldn’t be rooting through Americans’ emails with family members, friends and colleagues, all without ever obtaining a warrant.”
“This development is very troubling for Americans’ privacy,” said John Napier Tye, a former state department official turned surveillance whistleblower. “Most people don’t realize this, but even our purely domestic email and text messages are often stored on servers outside the United States. And the NSA has written extremely permissive rules for itself to collect data outside US borders.
“So in operations overseas, the NSA is scooping up a lot of purely domestic communications. And now, with these new rules, many different federal agencies can search and read the domestic communications of normal Americans, without any warrant or oversight from Congress or the courts.”
They mean that NSA officials are no longer required to filter out information about innocent people whose identities have been scooped up before passing the intercepted communications to officials from other agencies, who will now be able to search through raw caches of data.
“This raises serious concerns that agencies that have responsibilities such as prosecuting domestic crimes, regulating our financial policy, and enforcing our immigration laws will now have access to a wealth of personal information that could be misused,” said Singh Guliani. “Congress needs to take action to regulate and provide oversight over these activities.”
Privacy advocates’ concerns center around loopholes in the rules that allow agencies like the FBI and DEA to search the NSA’s collected data for purposes such as investigating an “agent of a foreign power.” Any evidence of illegal behavior that a searcher stumbles on can be used in a criminal prosecution. That means the rule change, according to Cardozo, introduces new possibilities for law enforcement agencies like the DEA and FBI to carry out what’s known as “parallel construction.” That maneuver involves secretly using the NSA’s intelligence to identify or track a criminal suspect, and then fabricating a plausible trail of evidence to present to a court as an after-the-fact explanation of the investigation’s origin. The technique was the subject of an ACLU lawsuit against the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in 2012, and resulted in the Justice Department admitting to repeatedly using the technique to hide the NSA’s involvement in criminal investigations.
“It used to be that if NSA itself saw the evidence of a crime, they could give a tip to the FBI, and the FBI would engage in parallel construction,” says Cardozo. “Now FBI will be able to get into the raw data themselves and do what they will with it.”