Independent Federal Watchdog Group Says NSA Phone Program Is Illegal
And recommends shutting it down. Good thing the NY Times buries the story on page A14 of the print edition, wanting to protect Obama and his 100% support of the domestic spying program.
(NY Times) An independent federal privacy watchdog has concluded that the National Security Agency’s program to collect bulk phone call records has provided only “minimal” benefits in counterterrorism efforts, is illegal and should be shut down.
The findings are laid out in a 238-page report, scheduled for release by Thursday and obtained by The New York Times, that represent the first major public statement by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, which Congress made an independent agency in 2007 and only recently became fully operational. (snip)
The program “lacks a viable legal foundation under Section 215, implicates constitutional concerns under the First and Fourth Amendments, raises serious threats to privacy and civil liberties as a policy matter, and has shown only limited value,” the report said. “As a result, the board recommends that the government end the program.”
Does anyone think Team Obama will shut the program down? Remember when the media and Democrats went apoplectic over the Bush admin listening to calls originating overseas between people who were not citizens of the USA, and referred to it as “domestic spying”? Yet most, not all, mind you, but most Dems aren’t showing the same anger over a programs that just scoops up data on most citizens calls and retaining them. And there is so much data that the program really doesn’t work.
(Washington Post) “We have not identified a single instance involving a threat to the United States in which the telephone records program made a concrete difference in the outcome of a counterterrorism investigation,” said the report, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post. “Moreover, we are aware of no instance in which the program directly contributed to the discovery of a previously unknown terrorist plot or the disruption of a terrorist attack.”
And for that we’re supposed to let the government collect data on all our phone calls? Perhaps the NSA should focus more on foreigners and people/groups overseas, like they’re supposed to.