NSA collected Americans' phone records despite law change

by Garry Watts May 4, 2017, 22:47
NSA collected Americans' phone records despite law change

According to that report, in calendar year 2016 the NSA collected 151 million phone metadata records - the who, where, and when, but not the "what" of calls - and contacts from "U.S. persons".

At any rate, the Freedom Act was supposed to limit the NSA to collecting phone records and contacts of people whom intelligence agencies here in the U.S. and in allied countries suspect may have ties to terrorism.

A report from the office of Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats presented the first measure of the effects of the 2015 USA Freedom Act, which limited the NSA to collecting the phone records and contacts of people that the U.S. and allied intelligence agencies suspect may have ties to "terrorism".

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The government report detailed that the NSA still amassed vast amounts of data under a new system, despite having been court ordered to only use the system to apprehend 42 terrorism suspects in 2016. The annual report comes just weeks after President Donald Trump accused former President Barack Obama's national security adviser of possibly committing a crime when she asked government analysts to disclose the names of Trump associates documented in intelligence reports.

This is because the Freedom Act still allows cellular carriers to collect call metadata on a bulk scale, data which can then be accessed by the NSA through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) without requiring a warrant.

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Both Republican and Democratic members of the congressional intelligence committees have said so far they have found no evidence to support either allegation.

It's got to do with the "hops": for example, if a target phone number calls another phone number, that's one hop. And we should find out what the hell is going on, ' he said. They said they had no breakdown of how many individuals' phone records were among those collected.

The report released Tuesday says the identities of USA citizens and legal permanent residents were found in 3,914 intelligence reports the NSA distributed past year.

The number of 151 million records is also misleading because it doesn't exactly show the number of people who were targeted, as it includes multiple calls from the same phone number.

The Office of the National Director said in the report that the names of 1,934 U.S. people were unmasked past year in response to specific requests, down from the 2,232 people unmasked in 2015.

Officials said in the report that US intelligence agencies had gone out of their way to make public more information about USA electronic eavesdropping. However, the report failed to mention how often the NSA shared information with the FBI and other intelligence agencies when conducting investigations.

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