NSA Broke Surveillance Rules: New Documents

Newly-declassified documents show the NSA repeatedly broke surveillance rules after its spying program was approved.

NSA Broke Surveillance Rules: New Documents
Digital Trends

More than 1,000 pages of newly declassified documents show the National Security Agency repeatedly broke surveillance rules. (Via Office of National Intelligence)

The documents — which were released Monday night by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper — include court records in which the NSA acknowledged it did NOT collect data on Americans' phone records properly. 

That surveillance program is the target of a civil liberties lawsuit against the government. The White House has said the program is necessary in the fight against terrorism. (Via ABC)

The surveillance program has sparked public outcry both domestically and abroad since it was first revealed by NSA leaker Edward Snowden. (Via Bloomberg)

SNOWDEN: "When you see everything, you see them on a more frequent basis, and you recognize that some of these things are actually abuses." (Via The Guardian)

And while Director Clapper called the document dump a sign of the agency's commitment to public information — as you can see from the documents — they are heavily censored — so they leave a lot of questions unanswered. (Via Department of Justice)

For example, the documents show the NSA during the Bush administration WAS permitted to collect information about email like addresses, but not CONTENT of messages. But entire pages that list the kind of data the NSA actually collected were redacted. 

And in any case, a second court opinion rebukes the agency for grossly abusing its powers, saying most all records it had collected "included some data that had not been authorized for collection."

Also included in the documents were training materials prepared for NSA analysts, who were instructed that picking phone numbers for terror suspects needed quote "some minimal level of objective justification."