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America's Lying About Spying: Worse Than You Think

"The National Security Agency has broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times each year since Congress granted the agency broad new powers in 2008, according to an internal audit and other top-secret documents," the Washington Post reports.

"Most of the infractions involve unauthorized surveillance of Americans or foreign intelligence targets in the United States, both of which are restricted by statute and executive order. They range from significant violations of law to typographical errors that resulted in unintended interception of U.S. e-mails and telephone calls."

Oh, but it's not just that.

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"The leader of the secret court that is supposed to provide critical oversight of the government's vast spying programs said that its ability do so is limited and that it must trust the government to report when it improperly spies on Americans," the Post also reports.

"The chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court said the court lacks the tools to independently verify how often the government's surveillance breaks the court's rules that aim to protect Americans' privacy. Without taking drastic steps, it also cannot check the veracity of the government's assertions that the violations its staff members report are unintentional mistakes."

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In other words . . .

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Sirota's follow-up in Slate: What If The President Lied To Us?

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Obama: I Was Going To Do That.

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"With each recent revelation about the NSA's spying programs government officials have tried to reassure the American people that all three branches of government - the Executive branch, the Judiciary branch, and the Congress - knowingly approved these programs and exercised rigorous oversight over them," Cindy Cohn and Mark M. Jaycox write for the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

"President Obama recited this talking point just last week, saying: 'as President, I've taken steps to make sure they have strong oversight by all three branches of government and clear safeguards to prevent abuse and protect the rights of the American people.'

"With these three pillars of oversight in place, the argument goes, how could the activities possibly be illegal or invasive of our privacy?

"Today, the Washington Post confirmed that two of those oversight pillars - the Executive branch and the court overseeing the spying, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA court) - don't really exist. The third pillar came down slowly over the last few weeks, with Congressional revelations about the limitations on its oversight, including what Representative Sensennbrenner called 'rope a dope' classified briefings."

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Gellman's explanation:

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More from the tweetstream:

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Previously:
* Obama Continues To Lie His Ass Off About The NSA.

* The Surveillance Reforms Obama Supported Before He Was President.

* America's Spying: Worse Than You Think.

* Has The U.S. Government Lied About Its Snooping? Let's Go To The Videotape.

* Who Are We At War With? That's Classified.

* Six Ways Congress May Reform NSA Snooping.

* NSA Says It Can't Search Its Own E-Mails.

* Does The NSA Tap That?

* Obama Explains The Difference Between His Spying And Bush's Spying.

* FAQ: What You Need To Know About The NSA's Surveillance Programs.

* NSA: Responding To This FOIA Would Help "Our Adversaries".

* Fact-Check: The NSA And 9/11.

* The NSA's Black Hole: 5 Things We Still Don't Know About The Agency's Snooping.

* Defenders Of NSA Surveillance Citing Chicago Case Omit Most Of Mumbai Plotter's Story.

* Obama's War On Truth And Transparency.

* ProPublica's Guide To The Best Stories On The Growing Surveillance State.

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on August 16, 2013


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