Why won't the Obama administration reveal how many Americans' emails the NSA has collected and reviewed without a warrant?
Posted in: Legal, Privacy & Security at 01/07/2012 14:32
Since last year, a few members of Congress -- led by Senator Ron Wyden -- have been trying to get the Obama administration to answer a simple question: how many Americans' phone calls or emails have been and are being collected and read without a warrant under the authority of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 (FAA)? Unfortunately, no one else in the government seems to want that question answered.
The question arose soon after Congress passed the FAA, which among other things sought to create immunity for telecoms that helped the NSA conduct warrantless wiretapping and gutted privacy protections for Americans communicating overseas. A New York Times investigation described how, under the FAA, a "significant and systemic" practice of "overcollection" of communications resulted in the NSA's intercepting millions of purely domestic emails and phone calls between Americans. In addition, documents obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request by the ACLU, although heavily redacted, revealed "that violations [of the FAA and the Constitution] continued to occur on a regular basis through at least March 2010" -- the last month anyone has public data for.