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N.S.A.'s Intercepts Exceed Limits Set by Congress

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posted on Apr, 16 2009 @ 08:00 AM

N.S.A.'s Intercepts Exceed Limits Set by Congress

And in one previously undisclosed episode, the N.S.A. tried to wiretap a member of Congress without a warrant, an intelligence official with direct knowledge of the matter said.

As part of that investigation, a senior F.B.I. agent recently came forward with what the inspector general’s office described as accusations of “significant misconduct” in the surveillance program, people with knowledge of the investigation said. Those accusations are said to involve whether the N.S.A. made Americans
(visit the link for the full news article)

posted on Apr, 16 2009 @ 08:00 AM
NSA is trying to say they "inadvertently" targeted groups of Americans, by accident without a warrant. It is being uncovered we have had our civil liberties completely violated in the name of the war on Terror. I remember when this whole spying on people without a warrant came up, and it was explained as being only on international phone calls and correspondence. Seems, it has been on anything but that. Even with the FISA bill passed last year, which I and many millions of other American's were against it, which was suppose to safe guard abuses of wiretapping without warrants - has done no good.

I know when I called all my Congress representatives, the White House, the Senators and Obama's campaign office and Senate office last year, asking all for votes "against" it, including the retroactive immunity for the phone companies on previous abuses. Every office said they were receiving thousands of phone calls against it and very few for it. What happened? of course it passed, against the people's wishes.

Now, it seems NSA is still up to no good and is violating what little safe guards were in the FISA bill.

WASHINGTON — The National Security Agency intercepted private e-mail messages and phone calls of Americans in recent months on a scale that went beyond the broad legal limits established by Congress last year, government officials said in recent interviews.

Several intelligence officials, as well as lawyers briefed about the matter, said the N.S.A. had been engaged in “overcollection” of domestic communications of Americans. They described the practice as significant and systemic, although one official said it was believed to have been unintentional.

I have a question, how can the NSA unintentionaly spy on people?

In a statement on Wednesday night, the N.S.A. said that its “intelligence operations, including programs for collection and analysis, are in strict accordance with U.S. laws and regulations.” The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which oversees the intelligence community, did not address specific aspects of the surveillance problems but said in a statement that “when inadvertent mistakes are made, we take it very seriously and work immediately to correct them.”

The intelligence officials said the problems had grown out of changes enacted by Congress last July in the law that regulates the government’s wiretapping powers, and the challenges posed by enacting a new framework for collecting intelligence on terrorism and spying suspects.

While the N.S.A.’s operations in recent months have come under examination, new details are also emerging about earlier domestic-surveillance activities, including the agency’s attempt to wiretap a member of Congress, without court approval, on an overseas trip, current and former intelligence officials said.
Officials would not discuss details of the overcollection problem because it involves classified intelligence-gathering techniques. But the issue appears focused in part on technical problems in the N.S.A.’s ability at times to distinguish between communications inside the United States and those overseas as it uses its access to American telecommunications companies’ fiber-optic lines and its own spy satellites to intercept millions of calls and e-mail messages.

Millions of phone calls and emails???? REALLY? There are millions of overseas calls and emails going out, or are they all domestic ones on regular everyday people?

One official said that led the agency to inadvertently “target” groups of Americans and collect their domestic communications without proper court authority. Officials are still trying to determine how many violations may have occurred.

And in one previously undisclosed episode, the N.S.A. tried to wiretap a member of Congress without a warrant, an intelligence official with direct knowledge of the matter said.

The agency believed that the congressman, whose identity could not be determined, was in contact — as part of a Congressional delegation to the Middle East in 2005 or 2006 — with an extremist who had possible terrorist ties and was already under surveillance, the official said. The agency then sought to eavesdrop on the congressman’s conversations, the official said.

The official said the plan was ultimately blocked because of concerns from some intelligence officials about using the N.S.A., without court oversight, to spy on a member of Congress.

They have wanted to even spy on a Congressional Representative.

I wonder how many of each of our own phone calls, emails and correspondences have been intercepted by the NSA?

Also, how can spying on a group be by accident?

One point regarding the NSA and wiretapping.

When I was actively involved in the 2004 elections, I was part of a group trying to uncover and bring to light the election fraud which occured in Ohio, through Ken Blackwell.

I would send out literally thousands of emails everyday and even went up to Ohio, I was a very vocal person during that time. During these couple of months, my phone calls began sounding weird and people would constantly comment "it sounds like your phone is wiretapped", besides it taking longer for phone calls to connect to me or my calls to connect to others. Let me also put it this way, we got CSPAN to cover some of the hearings regarding possible fraud through intense pressuring and constant contact with them, after they initially said they would not cover any questions of voting fraud. I was so involved - I guess John Kerry even knew my name, because I got a personal letter from him at the end of it all.

I firmly believe at that time the NSA had wiretapped my phone calls and gathered my emails.

One question is: Do they still do that?

I still have some complain to me, how long it takes for their phone calls to me, to go through.

(visit the link for the full news article)

[edit on 16-4-2009 by questioningall]

posted on Apr, 16 2009 @ 10:53 AM
I encourage everyone to give this thread the proper attention, as this is PROVING how LITTLE anything is going to "change" under this current regime...They are nothing more than an EXTENSION of the previous one, and may possibly be even WORSE in terms of the abuses of power!

Here's more:

Revealed: Spying Abuses 'Systemic' In Recent Months -- Which Is Exactly What the 2008 FISA Law Was Designed to Do

These widespread eavesdropping abuses enabled by the 2008 FISA bill -- a bill passed with the support of Barack Obama along with the entire top Democratic leadership in the House, including Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer, and substantial numbers of Democratic Senators -- aren't a bug in that bill, but rather, were one of the central features of it. Everyone knew that the FISA bill which Congressional Democrats passed -- and which George Bush and Dick Cheney celebrated -- would enable these surveillance abuses. That was the purpose of the law: to gut the safeguards in place since the 1978 passage of FISA, destroy the crux of the oversight regime over executive surveillance of Americans, and enable and empower unchecked government spying activities. This was not an unintended and unforeseeable consequence of that bill. To the contrary, it was crystal clear that by gutting FISA's safeguards, the Democratic Congress was making these abuses inevitable.

Continued: d_to_do/

posted on Apr, 16 2009 @ 12:24 PM
On the website Firedoglake, it is questioned who was the Congressional person, who was possibly illegally wiretapped.

The New York Times reported that the NSA improperly wiretapped a member of Congress who was "part of a Congressional delegation to the Middle East in 2005 or 2006." Greg Sargent wants to know who it was. Don't we all. To the Googling stations!

My first guess was Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), who visited the West Bank in January 2006. But why stop there? In March 2005, a so-called CODEL travelled to Iraq, Jordan, Israel Lebanon and Egypt. On the trip were Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Darrel Issa (R- Calif.), George Miller (D-Calif.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), James McGovern (D- Mass.), and Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.).

Those weren't the only ones. Another March 2005 CODEL featured members taking a survey of Mideast democratization efforts. On that trip: Rep. David Dreier (R-Calif.), Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.), Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-Fla.), and then-Rep. E. Clay Shaw (R-Fla.). They went to the Palestinian territories, Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Cyprus and two other countries I didn't immediately identify.

Let's continue. January 2006: a congressional delegation goes to the Europe, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Middle East enough? That one had then-Rep. Jon Porter (R-Nev), Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Rep. Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam), Rep. Dave Weldon (R-FL), Rep. Melissa Hart (R-PA), Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN), Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI) and Rep. Kenny Hulshof (R-MO).

Then there was a December 2006 senatorial CODEL to Iraq, Israel, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Sens. John Thune (R-SD), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) brought back photos.

So, that's 27 members of Congress who could have been illegally surveilled by the NSA. I'm sure I'm missing some CODELs, so point them out in comments if you see them. But the broader point is that there's no obvious reason at the moment why any of these members' trips couldn't have put them in contact with "persons of interest" to the National Security Agency and the Bush administration, thereby making them prima facie targets of a wideranging surveillance program.

Another question, how is it, someone at NSA could consider a U.S. elected official a possible terrorist? I thought FISA was strictly to wiretap terrorist.

One problem is, Congress last year when they passed the FISA bill, did not insist on getting all the records of who had been wiretapped by the Bush adminstration without a warrant. So, we will never know the extent they went to in wiretapping and who they wiretapped during that time. I would hope congress demands the records of everyone they have wiretapped with the reasoning for it, since the FISA bill passed last year.

posted on Apr, 16 2009 @ 12:53 PM
I know the mindset of the posters here will go nuts on me but I'm sorry. I'm having a hard time getting angry about the NSA wiretapping people who have been in contact with a an extremist or suspected terrorist. With all our current issues going on (new trillion dollars of printed debt anyone???) the NSA wiretapping middle eastern calls doesn't rank high on my list. Do you even know ANYONE who calls the middle east?

posted on Apr, 16 2009 @ 01:15 PM
I have a perspective on NSA that may be a bit different.

First of all, targeting for foreign intelligence collection is not 'random', but those who engage in it may not have anything to do with the reason it is collected or sought.

When the actual humans get involved, they will identify those signals they shouldn't be listening to. Many years ago, the collection would immediately be stopped and the data destroyed. Furthermore, measures were taken to ensure that that source of information was never targeted again.

That was over 20 years ago. Now it seems they collect it all and deal with the problems after someone outside the actual collection makes the determination as to whether this was desired information and what to do with it.

NSA has no limits 'set by Congress' - that is an oversimplification at best, or a misrepresentation at worst. Congress may set guidelines and principles for the activities of the NSA but they cannot do more than that.

I will however add one off topic point:

Remember all those missing, lost, or misplaced White House emails? NSA has them ALL - 100% guaranteed, I'll put hard cash on that bet! The problem is they will NEVER admit they 'intercepted' them. However - their accidental netting of all e-data and signals intelligence doesn't leave room for doubt.

Can anyone say 'subpoena'?

posted on Apr, 16 2009 @ 01:23 PM
I am so appalled by this I actually do not have an intelligent response to your thread QA. So I will yell into my phone then!

# the NSA and NSA bull #!!!

[edit on 4/16/2009 by Tentickles]

posted on Apr, 16 2009 @ 05:04 PM
Senate is going to investigate NSA now


WASHINGTON — The head of the Senate Intelligence Committee said Thursday that the panel would hold a hearing to get to the bottom of reports that the National Security Agency improperly tapped into the domestic communications of American citizens.

"We will make sure we get the facts," said Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.
The House and Senate Intelligence Committees learned of the problem in late February from the Justice Department, a congressional official said Thursday. The committees have since had multiple private briefings on the NSA transgressions.

The Justice Department confirmed Wednesday that it had reined in the NSA's wiretapping activities in the United States after learning that the agency had improperly accessed American phone calls and e-mails while eavesdropping on foreign communications.

Justice officials discovered the problems during a routine review of NSA wiretapping. The government's action was first divulged Wednesday by The New York Times.

The Senate hearing will be closed to the public and will delve into questions raised by The New York Times story that have not been covered in closed-door informal briefings, a committee official said. The official would not say what those issues are.

The House Intelligence Committee has already held four secret briefings on the NSA action, said Chairman Silvestre Reyes, D-Tx. The House Judiciary Committee was also notified.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the NSA program is classified.

Lets hope they are actually reined in and the law begins to be followed. I wonder if they will completely release any findings?

posted on Apr, 16 2009 @ 05:22 PM
reply to post by questioningall

I am very happy about this. Perhaps when congress sees what it is like to me a regular citizen, then they will understand what the US Constitution is all about and why they must uphold it. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. Not until it happens to you, do you understand what it means to have your rights violated. Maybe they will repeal all legislation that lets three letter agencies from just vacuuming up data at their leisure with no warrants or accountability.

BRAVO! I hope they monitor all members of congress as well as the president and his cabinet.

How does it feel?

posted on Apr, 16 2009 @ 06:21 PM
The real problem lays not with the NSA but the political powers that are in place. Plainly evident to anyone looking that changing the president did not change the policy. Actually, the policies have been further refined to consider all American veterans and gun owners as domestic terrorists.

People can bash Bush as much as they want, but we will look back on his era as the good old days in a few years.

There are many things wrong in Washington and this is just one of the problems.

posted on Apr, 16 2009 @ 07:09 PM

Yeah they just "inadvertently" installed line-splitters on AT&T's San Francisco internet backbone to just "inadvertently" monitor all the Internet traffic of some 1 million people did they?

Klein prepared a statement and a number of documents describing what he calls a "secret room" at the AT&T Internet and telephone hub in San Francisco which he says holds a piece of equipment capable of sifting through large volumes of Internet traffic.


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