A newly unearthed report from NSA’s Inspector General reveals “egregious” actions by the NSA, including what Bloomberg News calls “unauthorized targeting and collection of private communications of people or organizations in the US.” If accurate, this would not only be illegal, but criminal under FISA.
The report directly points to Title VII of FISA, which is slated to sunset at the end of 2023, and Executive Order 12333. Title VII of FISA includes the notorious surveillance authority known as “Section 702,” which the government has abused for years to knowingly access Americans’ communications without a warrant. Executive Order 12333 is the lawless surveillance power that completely evades Congressional and judicial oversight and is now at the heart of revelations that the government is paying data brokers to spy on countless Americans — all without a warrant.
“The Congressional intelligence committees have claimed to be robust overseers of intelligence agencies. If accurate, this Inspector General report should not only be known to them, but also the subject of serious investigation. We call on the House and Senate Intelligence Committees to release what they know, including how many people this illegal activity impacted, what punishments the people involved faced, and what the committees have done to ensure this never happens again,” said Sean Vikta, Senior Policy Counsel at Demand Progress Education Fund. “The government has abused its surveillance powers for too long and blatantly disregarded the privacy rights of the American people. Like the FBI’s recent wrongful spying on business, religious, civic, and community leaders, this adds to the mounting evidence that Title VII is simply too dangerous to reauthorize.”