The US National Security Agency collected and stored information on virtually every phone call made in the United States for three years, according to court documents made public on Tuesday.
The NSA violated rules on surveillance of telephone records for almost three years and misled a secret court, raising fresh concerns that spy programs lack adequate controls to protect Americans™ privacy.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper made public the violations at the direction of President Obama and in response to lawsuits by civil liberties groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).
The ACLU’s Alex Abdo said the documents offer “further evidence that secret and one-sided judicial review is not an adequate check on the NSA’s surveillance practices. The so-called ‘compliance incidents’ are troubling, but this is a program that should never have been authorized to begin with.”
œI think it™s pretty damning,” said Trevor Timm, a digital rights analyst with EFF. œThis shows a larger pattern that a lot of times the NSA doesn™t alert the court to serious privacy violations, whether they are intentional or unintentional, for years down the road.”
The improper activity went on from May 2006 to January 2009, according to a 2009 opinion by Judge Reggie Walton, who serves on the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA).
œThe government has compounded its noncompliance with the court™s orders by repeatedly submitting inaccurate descriptions of the alert list process” to the court, Judge Walton wrote in a sharply worded March 2009 ruling.
Last month, the FISA court severely criticized the NSA over another surveillance program that searches the contents of Americans™ Internet communications in breach of the US Constitution.
Taken together, the documents released over the past month reveal a troubling picture of a super spy agency that has sought and won far-reaching surveillance powers to run complex domestic data collection without anyone having full technical understanding of the efforts.
The privacy violations were first revealed by American whistleblower Edward Snowden. He leaked confidential information that showed the NSA collects data of phone records and Internet communication of American citizens.
Copyright: Press TV