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Tag: NSA

Lawmakers Propose Changes To Close Gap When Terror Suspect Enters U.S.

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Lawmakers are trying to expand the surveillance powers of intelligence agencies to make spying more seamless when a terror suspect enters the U.S., the Associated Press reports.

The idea is to close the gap between NSA and FBI electronic surveillance, which occurs because of different legal standards between the two agencies.

That gap poses challenges in keeping surveillance uninterrupted as suspects enter the U.S.

The AP reports:

The chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., told The Associated Press that her committee is drafting a bill that would amend the law’s Section 702 provision, which authorizes targeting non-Americans outside the U.S., to allow uninterrupted spying on a suspect for “a limited period of time after the NSA learns the target has traveled to the United States, so the government may obtain a court order based on probable cause.”

 

The proposed changes will include testimony from top intelligence officials.

 

 

Justice Department Watchdogs Did Nothing to Investigate Complaints about NSA Surveillance

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

When federal judges repeatedly complained about the government misleading them about NSA’s secret domestic surveillance, the Justice Department never sprang into action, the USA Today reports.

According to the USA Today, newly released records show the Justice Department’s internal ethics watchdog never investigated allegations of the NSA having surveillance on Americans’ phone calls and Internet connections.

At least two judges who oversee the spying programs delivered sharp rebukes after learning federal officials misrepresented the surveillance, the USA Today reported.

Although the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility is charged with investigating allegations by judges, no such probe ever occurred, according to the USA Today.

Columnist Argues Congress Should Get Rid of Beleaguered DEA

Bill Piper
The Seattle Times

Note: Piper is the director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance

This year is the 40th anniversary of the Drug Enforcement Administration. Already plagued by scandals, the agency has recently been revealed to be collaborating with the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency to spy on unsuspecting Americans. More than 120 groups from across the political spectrum and around the globe have called on Congress to hold hearings on the DEA.

There is no doubt the agency should be reformed. It is also worth asking if it should continue to exist.

According to a Reuters investigation, the DEA has been gathering information from other agencies, as well as foreign governments, for years. The DEA has also been collecting its own arsenal of data; constructing a massive database with about 1 billion records.

This information is shared in secret. By hiding the origins of its data from defense attorneys, prosecutors and judges, the agency and its partners effectively are undermining the right of the people it targets to a fair trial.

To read more click here.

FBI Director James Comey Added to Revised NSA Surveillance Lawsuit

James Comey

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A lawsuit alleging that the National Security Agency violated the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens now includes claims against new FBI Director James Comey, Bloomberg reports.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which filed the original lawsuit in July, alleges the NSA, with the help of the Justice Department and FBI, surreptitiously collected information about “all telephone calls transiting the networks of all major telecommunication companies.”

Comey was added to the suit as a defendant.

The DOJ declined to comment on the amended complaint.

The lawsuit, First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles v. National Security Agency, was filed in federal court in San Francisco.

Snowden Documents: NSA Has Undermined Encryption That Protects Online Privacy

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The NSA has surreptitiously succeeded in unscrambling encryption that protects people’s privacy online, the New York Times reports.

It’s the latest discovery from documents leaked by NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

According to the Times, the NSA has been able to undermine coding to access information ranging from personal e-mails to medical records.

The NSA used supercomputers, technical trickery and old-fashion persuasion, the Times wrote.

“For the past decade, N.S.A. has led an aggressive, multipronged effort to break widely used Internet encryption technologies,” said a 2010 memo about NSDA accomplishments for employees of its British counterpart, Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ. “Cryptanalytic capabilities are now coming online. Vast amounts of encrypted Internet data which have up till now been discarded are now exploitable.”

Coalition of Civil Rights Groups Calls for Congressional Hearings on DEA Surveillance

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Revelations that the DEA uses NSA data to investigate non-terrorism cases against Americans has prompted a coalition of two dozen civil rights groups to call for congressional hearings, Reuters reports.

The call for hearings comes after Reuters revealed that the DEA uses telephone surveillance from the NSA to build criminal cases against Americans.

“The implications of the Reuters revelations are serious and far-reaching,” the groups wrote Thursday to Congressional leaders on judiciary, homeland security and oversight committees, the wire service reported.

“For too long Congress has given the DEA a free pass,” said Bill Piper of the Drug Policy Alliance. “Our hope is that Congress does its job and provides oversight of an agency that has a long track record of deeply troubling behavior.”

DEA Has Unprecedented Access for AT&T Phone Records Dating Back to 1987

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

AT&T agreed to provide the DEA with real time access to an unprecedented amount of phone records as part of a recently revealed partnership, The Atlantic reports.

Since 2007, the DEA has had access to every call that goes through AT&T’s switchboard, The Atlantic wrote.

The phone company even provided four employees to help track down suspects.

The access includes phone numbers, time and duration of calls and where the calls were made dating back to 1987.

To put that into perspective, 4 billion call records accumulate every day, the New York Times wrote.

Justice Department Launches Probe into Report That NSA Supplied DEA with Domestic, Non-Terrorism Intelligence

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Federal lawmakers are calling on Attorney General Eric Holder to respond to a Reuters report that showed the NSA was supplying the DEA with surveillance information about domestic, non-terrorism cases, Reuters reported Monday evening.

Five Democrats in the Senate and three congressmen want to know if the DEA – as reported – passed NSA intelligence to other agencies, including the FBI, IRS and Homeland Security. The instructions: Never reveal your source, even in court, according to Reuters.

“These allegations raise serious concerns that gaps in the policy and law are allowing overreach by the federal government’s intelligence gathering apparatus,” wrote the senators – Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Ron Wyden of Oregon, Tom Udall of New Mexico, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Sherrod Brown of Ohio.

The Justice Department confirmed it is investigating.