(Tea Party 247) – Yet again, the National Security Agency has been busted illegally gathering the phone data of Americans.
This comes just months after the NSA was forced to purge (so they say) hundreds of millions of records obtained without FISA authorization after a similar incident.
RT reports that the NSA unlawfully gathered a “larger than expected” number of call and text records from a single American telecom provider under Section 215, a metadata-collection program.
The ACLU obtained a document as part of their ongoing lawsuit against the NSA which, being heavily redacted, does not reveal the identity of the company that was affected, or how many of its “call detail records” had been illegally collected between October 3 and 12, 2018.
“These documents further confirm that this surveillance program is beyond redemption and a privacy and civil liberties disaster,” ACLU National Security Project staff attorney Patrick Toomey told the Associated Press, RT reports.
“There is no justification for leaving this surveillance power in the NSA’s hands.”
Not surprisingly, the NSA’s own internal records assess the impact of the illegal data collection “on national security or international relations” to be “none.”
This isn’t promising, Intellihub notes, “Critics of the program, formerly known as StellarWind, have pointed to its acknowledged failure to stop a single terror event. Terrorism was the agency’s official rationale for eavesdropping on 3 billion phone calls every day. That’s just one of many reasons the entire agency, not just its programs, should be scrapped.”
The agency “will assess the scope of the civil liberties and privacy impact of this incident upon completion of the investigation,” the report asserts, although an “initial assessment is that the impact was limited given the quick identification, purge processes, and lack of reporting.”
Journalist Ben Swann refuses to let the NSA get away with this.
“If there is no accountability for those who continue to break the law – because that’s what they’re doing – then why would they ever stop doing that?” he asked.
“Why is there no penalty? Why is there no consequence for doing this? This is illegal behavior – if it is illegal, what is the accountability for those who are collecting it?” he continued.
“The NSA never outs themselves and admits ‘We made a mistake’ – it only comes to light when the ACLU or some group sues,” Swann told RT.
The NSA has previously stated they would be willing to drop the Section 215 program, and former NSA chief William Binney “confirmed that the agency is only letting it go of the controversial program Section 215 because they have something much more sinister going on.”
“There is no oversight of the upstream program,” he told told RT, referring to an NSA program that collections, in addition to phone data, so-called “chatter,” and “everything on the fiber optic network.” Upstream is “the major program that’s copying the collection of bulk data on everybody, not just in the United States but on the planet.”