Jun 152013
 June 15, 2013  Posted by  Surveillance, U.S.

Declan McCullagh reports:

The National Security Agency has acknowledged in a new classified briefing that it does not need court authorization to listen to domestic phone calls.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, disclosed this week that during a secret briefing to members of Congress, he was told that the contents of a phone call could be accessed “simply based on an analyst deciding that.”

If the NSA wants “to listen to the phone,” an analyst’s decision is sufficient, without any other legal authorization required, Nadler said he learned. “I was rather startled,” said Nadler, an attorney and congressman who serves on the House Judiciary committee.

Read more on CNET.

I’m glad Declan is reporting on this as I was surprised when Rep. Nadler brought out an apparent contradiction between what members of Congress heard in classified briefings and what Director Mueller testified to. Here’s a clip of the interaction:

But how much does the government actually get? A  document obtained by Reuters suggests that the government does not get details on many numbers in the course of a year:

The U.S. government only searched for detailed information on calls involving fewer than 300 specific phone numbers among the millions of raw phone records collected by the National Security Agency in 2012, according to a government paper obtained by Reuters on Saturday.

The unclassified paper was circulated Saturday within the government by U.S. intelligence agencies and apparently is an attempt by spy agencies and the Obama administration to rebut accusations that it overreached in investigating potential militant plots.

Read more on Reuters.

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