The National Security Agency, known as NSA (“No Such Agency”), is allowed to tap the communications of Americans, but only insofar as they are dealing with people outside the USA.
For over five years, the NSA has been monitoring the communications of Americans who were communicating only inside the USA.
The Electronic Freedom Foundation has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice for having violated the Freedom of Information Act. It failed to provide required documents related to a 2008 amendment of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
Under that year’s update to FISA, feds were awarded legal wiggle room to collect and comb through any communication originating in the United States that is sent abroad through email or phone, all under the guise of national security. The EFF and others attest that the government has extensively violated the US Constitution by doing as such, though, and is now suing the DoJ not for ongoing abuse of the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure, but for the department’s failure to quickly honor the FOIA request and for wrongful withholding of agency records.
The FISA Amendments gave the NSA power to spy on Americans’ communications. But the NSA went beyond its already expansive boundaries. The Justice Department has stonewalled the EFF’s quest for proof. The EFF has issued this press release.
1. The FISA Amendments Act (FAA) of 2008 gave the NSA expansive power to spy on Americans’ international email and telephone calls. However, last month, in a letter to Senator Ron Wyden, a government official publicly disclosed that the NSA’s surveillance had gone even further than what the law permits, with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) issuing at least one ruling calling the NSA’s actions unconstitutional. . . .
“For years we’ve seen news reports in the New York Times and other outlets about widespread government spying going beyond the broad powers granted in the FAA, but we’ve yet to get any real answers about what is going on,” said EFF Open Government Legal Fellow Mark Rumold. “When law-breaking is allowed to remain secret, there’s no accountability or way to monitor future abuses. It’s time for the government to come clean and tell us about the NSA’s unconstitutional actions.”
The surveillance provisions in the FAA will sunset at the end of this year unless Congress reauthorizes the law. The pending congressional debate on reauthorization makes it all the more critical that the government release this information on the NSA’s actions.
“As Congress gears up to reconsider the FAA, the American public needs to know how the law has been misused,” said EFF Senior Counsel David Sobel. “The DOJ should follow the law and release this information to the American public.”
The technology of electronic surveillance gets better daily. The NSA has now built a huge facility in Utah for spying on Americans.
Are we all potential terrorists? The government is acting on the assumption that we are.