New Snowden leak shows how the NSA gets away with domestic spying

Newly leaked National Security Agency documents published by the Guardian reveal that the NSA can scour vast databases of personal information by searching for the names, email addresses and other identifiers of United States citizens.

More than two months after the Guardian first published leaked
NSA files attributed to former intelligence contractor Edward
Snowden, the paper wrote Friday that their source has also
supplied documents showing that the US intelligence community can
conduct warrantless searches of communications tied to Americans
that are collected under legal authority provided through the
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Changes made to FISA in 2008, specifically Section 702, gave US
investigators the ability to collect the communications of
Americans if one of the parties involved was reasonable suspected
to be overseas. And while proponents of this program, including
US President Barack Obama, have defended against allegations that
the US does not conduct domestic spying, new documents supplied
by Snowden suggest that the NSA can query the names of Americans
in order to search that very data.

The previously undisclosed rule change allows NSA operatives
to hunt for individual Americans’ communications using their name
or other identifying information
,” James Ball and Spencer
Ackerman wrote for the Guardian.

According to the journalists, the latest Snowden leak shows for
the first time ever that the NSA can search databases of
intelligence collected through Section 702 for the communications
of specific US individuals.

While the FAA 702 minimization procedures approved on 3
October 2011 now allow for use of certain United States person
names and identifiers as query terms when reviewing collected FAA
702 data
,” the Guardian quotes from the document,
analysts may NOT/NOT [not repeat not] implement any USP [US
persons] queries until an effective oversight process has been
developed by NSA and agreed to by DOJ/ODNI [Office of the
Director of National Intelligence

Ball and Ackerman say they have been unable to determine if any
oversight processes have been implemented since June 2012, when
they believe the Section 702 memo supplied by Snowden was last

The Guardian’s latest revelation comes but three days after Pres.
Obama told talk show host Jay Leno, “We don’t have a domestic
spying program

What we do have are some mechanisms where we can track a
phone number or an email address that we know is connected to
some sort of terrorist threat
,” the president said during a
Tuesday night interview.

In response, former Obama adviser Van Jones told CNN, “[W]e do have a domestic spying
program, and what we need to be able to do is figure out how to
balance these things, not pretend like there’s no balancing to be

In-between Obama’s remark and the Friday publication of the
Guardian, the New York Times reported that the NSA copies all
overseas messages either sent or received by Americans and then
scans them to find references to people or subjects thought tied
to terrorists. The latest leaked Snowden doc suggests the NSA can
do much more though, going as far as to authorize the agency to
search for names, email addresses, IP addresses, telephone
numbers and other “identifiers” of US citizens without needing a

Neither the NSA nor Office of the Director of National
Intelligence responded to the Guardian’s requests for comment,
but Pres. Obama is expected to weigh in on the topic of federal
surveillance during a previously scheduled press conference
slated for Friday afternoon.

Republished from: RT