Good News: Government Information On US Citizens Can Now Be Held For 5 Years
Remember the good old days in the years immediately post-9/11, when Democrats freaked out over the government gathering information, which captured some data on US citizens? Remember the insanity over listening to international calls, despite still needing a warrant if it was determined that a US citizen was on the line? Back in 2007, Obama said this
The Supreme Court has never held that the president has such powers. As president, I will follow existing law, and when it comes to U.S. citizens and residents, I will only authorize surveillance for national security purposes consistent with FISA and other federal statutes.
Every democracy is tested when it is faced with a serious threat. As a nation we have to find the right balance between privacy and security, between executive authority to face threats and uncontrolled power. What protects us are the procedures we put in place to protect that balance, namely judicial warrants and congressional review. These are concrete safeguards to make sure surveillance hasn’t gone too far.
Americans fought a revolution in part over the right to be free from unreasonable searches, to ensure that our government couldn’t come knocking in the middle of the night for no reason. We need to find a way forward to make sure that we [stop] terrorists while protecting the privacy and liberty of innocent Americans.
And much more, when he was attempting to slam President Bush. How times change
The Obama administration has approved guidelines that allow counterterrorism officials to lengthen the period of time they retain information about U.S. residents, even if they have no known connection to terrorism.
The changes allow the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), the intelligence community’s clearinghouse for terrorism data, to keep information for up to five years. Previously, the center was required to promptly destroy – generally within 180 days – any information about U.S. citizens or residents unless a connection to terrorism was evident.
The new guidelines, which were approved Thursday by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., have been in the works for more than a year, officials said.
Why? Robert S. Litt, the general counsel in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which oversees the NCTC, says
The old guidelines were“very limiting,” Litt said. “On Day One, you may look at something and think that it has nothing to do with terrorism. Then six months later, all of a sudden, it becomes relevant.”
Meanwhile, they’ll be holding information on US citizens for 5 years. Civil liberties groups are not particularly happy with this. The ACLU gave a wishy washy response. Had this been the Bush DOJ, they would have gone ballistic.
On the bright side, reading the comments, both Republicans and Democrats are upset about this.