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National Security Agency has pushed to “rethink and reapply” its treatment of the Fourth Amendment since before 9/11

June 10, 2013

 

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“The Fourth Amendment is as applicable to eSIGINT as it is to the SIGINT of yesterday and today. The Information Age will however cause us to rethink and reapply the procedures, policies and authorities born in an earlier electronic surveillance environment.”

 

The National Security Agency (NSA) has been pushing to “rethink and reapply” its application of the Fourth Amendment since before 9/11. This was necessary, it argued, to attain a “powerful, permanent presence on a global telecommunications network.”

According to a declassified document posted by the National Security Archive and featured in a recent Politico article, in addition to attempting to re-frame the way we think of our right to privacy, the NSA has also received a robust infusion of funds after 9/11, paving the way for the Orwellian surveillance state Edward Snowden helped reveal. In light of recent events, the declassified record on the NSA is especially enlightening.  Jeffrey T. Richelson’s recent posting of 98 newly declassified government documents tracing the Agency’s wide range of cyber activities, concerns, and attitudes since the Clinton administration is a must read. Some of the most notable revelations found in the declassified documents include:

  • The NSA’s push to “rethink and reapply” the nature of the Fourth Amendment as early as 2001.
  • The estimation that by January 2001, 60% of the Presidential Daily Briefings were based upon SIGINT, a percentage that has surely increased over the last decade.
  • The NSA’s goal to selectively increase production of information from the global network.
  • And the NSA’s quest to deploy tools efficiently to sort, process, move and store information.

Give the National Security Agency analysts some credit, though. They did correctly predict the queasiness of many Americans  to having the entirety of their digital lives captured and stored:

A paragraph from a declassified Secret NSA document from 1997 laments the public's interpretation of the government, specifically the NSA, as the bad guy, quoting, "Specifically, the focus is on the potential abuse of the Government's applications of this new information technology that will result in an invasion of personal privacy." Notice the only countries the document was released to were Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK - all members of the ECHELON Spy Network.

A paragraph from a declassified Secret NSA document from 1997 laments the public’s interpretation of the government, specifically the NSA, as the bad guy, quoting, “Specifically, the focus is on the potential abuse of the Government’s applications of this new information technology that will result in an invasion of personal privacy.” Notice the only countries the document was released to were Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK – all members of the ECHELON Network.

 

Delve deeper into the declassified NSA documents for yourself here and here, and trace the path the NSA took to avoid becoming “the bad guy.”

 

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 15, 2013 1:16 pm

    Connecting the dots, if people were paying just a little closer attention, with 30% of security clearances in the private contractor sector (recalling Snowden was at Booz Allen Hamilton and not at the NSA per se), what is become clear is, Prism can serve to inform corporate boards at the deepest levels of anyone opposed to their agendas, draw up their own ‘kill lists’ were it a desired thing to do, track anyone onto illegal activities for purposes of derailing investigations into corporate (or government) crime, et cetera, add nausea.

    Recalling it was DoJ attorney (and now outgoing FBI Director) Robert Mueller effectively quashed the BCCI money laundering investigation, covering Iran-Contra weapons and narcotics trafficking money pipelines, don’t be surprised at Obama’s pick to replace Mueller at FBI headquarters with (BCCI’s replacement) HSBC board director James Comey. Prism should serve organized crime in government well-

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  1. The “Top 10” Surveillance Lies Edward Snowden’s Leaks Shed “Heat and Light” On | UNREDACTED

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