Senator Ron Wyden has a few questions for the National Security Administration, such as, how many Americans’ phone calls, text messages, E-mails, and other communications are under surveillance by government agencies?
Wyden is attempting to block the request to extend the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 (FAA).
Senator Wyden has the following concerns:
“The purpose of this 2008 legislation was to give the government new authorities to collect the communications of people who are believed to be foreigners outside the United States, while still preserving the privacy of people inside the United States,” Wyden explains in his hold statement. “Before Congress votes to renew these authorities it is important to understand how they are working in practice. In particular, it is important for Congress to better understand how many people inside the United States have had their communications collected or reviewed under the authorities granted by the FISA Amendments Act.”
Wyden’s second concern pertains to what he describes as the law’s inadequate protections against warrantless “back door” searches of Americans.
“I am concerned, of course, that if no one has even estimated how many Americans have had their communications collected under the FISA Amendments Act,” Wyden writes, “then it is possible that this number could be quite large. Since all of the communications collected by the government under section 702 are collected without individual warrants, I believe that there should be clear rules prohibiting the government from searching through these communications in an effort to find the phone calls or emails of a particular American, unless the government has obtained a warrant or emergency authorization permitting surveillance of that American.”
The inspector general of the intelligence community gave this response to Senator Wyden’s request: “Obtaining such an estimate was beyond the capacity of [the] office and dedicating sufficient additional resources would likely impede the NSA’s mission.”
US News reports, “The NSA inspector general also concluded that revealing even an estimate of the number of Americans under surveillance would “violate the privacy of U.S. persons.”"
These guys can not be serious. Beware of the coming police state, America. Actually, scratch that, that police state is already here, it just has not been fully implemented. Ever since 9/11, our liberties have been continually forced to take a backseat so that “our” government can keep us “safe”. The government is spying on you, they are intercepting your communications, and doing it all without warrants, but they don’t want to “violate your privacy” by releasing an estimate of how many U.S. citizens’ privacy they have already violated. Classic.