Obama expands NSA spying

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Only days before Trump’s inauguration

Obama expands NSA spying

By
George Gallanis

14 January 2017

With the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump only days away, the Obama administration announced on Thursday a vast expansion of the spying power of American intelligence agencies. Under the new rules, the National Security Agency (NSA) can now share raw bulk data consisting of private communications with 16 other intelligence agencies, including the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.

In response to the recent rules set forward by the Obama administration, NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden Tweeted on Thursday, “As he hands the White House to Trump, Obama just unchained NSA from basic limits on passing raw intercepts to others.”

Previously, NSA analysts were required to sift out information they judged irrelevant and withhold the names of individuals deemed innocent before passing along information to other agencies. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch signed the new rules, which grants multiple agencies access to “raw signals intelligence information,” on January 3. The director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr., approved the measure on December 15, 2016.

Executive Order 12333, enacted into law by the Ronald Reagan administration and then expanded by the George W. Bush administration, serves as the quasi-legal basis for much of the NSA’s vast surveillance dragnet. Through it, the NSA gathers information from around the world via phone and internet servers and connections, from sites such as Google, and consumes entire phone call records from whole countries and monitors satellite transmissions.

In 2014, The Intercept disclosed that the NSA used Order 12333 to search over 850 billion phone and internet records and amass raw,…

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