While Stewart Baker “doubts” the Washington Post’s recent statistics on surveillance under Section 702, the government doesn’t doubt the statistics, but tries to explain them. David E. Sanger and Matt Apuzzo report:
The Post’s analysis of the data, including information that Edward J. Snowden, the former intelligence contractor, had not revealed before, suggested that roughly nine in 10 communications involved people who were not the direct targets of surveillance. On Sunday, Robert Litt, the general counsel to the director of national intelligence, said in an interview that The Post’s article cites “figures that suggest foreign intelligence collection intercepts the communications of nine ‘bystanders’ for every ‘legally targeted’ foreigner.”
“These reports simply discuss the kind of incidental interception of communications that we have always said takes place under Section 702,” he said, referring to the law that governs the collection of information on foreigners. “We target only valid foreign intelligence targets under that authority, and the most that you could conclude from these news reports is that each valid foreign intelligence target talks to an average of nine people.” The administration has made no secret of the fact that, as it vacuums data from around the globe, it sometimes inadvertently collects information from innocent people, including some Americans.
Read more on the New York Times.